A former Hinchingbrooke School pupil, who set up an organisation to help disabled children in Africa, is hoping to gather additional support to ensure her vital work can continue. NATALIE BOWYER reports Teresha Clark, 23, established Spring of Hope in Se
A former Hinchingbrooke School pupil, who set up an organisation to help disabled children in Africa, is hoping to gather additional support to ensure her vital work can continue. NATALIE BOWYER reports
Teresha Clark, 23, established Spring of Hope in September 2004 with the aim of supporting Ugandan children who have learning and physical disabilities.
It was while on a gap year in Africa that Teresha said she discovered the lack of support available for disabled children.
She told The Hunts Post: "I found 120 disabled children who had never had any support and whose parents struggled as they didn't understand enough about their child's situation. I realised then that something needed to be done."
Since then her organisation, which is based in southern Uganda, has worked directly with 200 children trying to improve their lives.
Teresha, who moved from her family home in Ellington to live in Uganda, said: "These are some of the most severely disabled children I have ever seen but they are also some of the happiest children I have seen.
"If my organisation can make even the slightest difference to their lives, then it is worth it."
One of the children she has helped is three-year-old Naludini. His brain was damaged after he was given a drug to keep him quiet while his mother went out to work as a prostitute.
He was taken to Teresha who is now helping Naludini eat, walk and talk.
"He is now a very happy child and always has a smile on his face," she said.
Spring of Hope has also set up a play clinic where songs and water provide physiotherapy for children. A total of 27 children attend this group, which is said to have helped improve their lives and the attitudes of their parents.
Teresha said: "We have seen some amazing relationships develop and see regular improvements in the children.
"Naludini started to walk in one session and this was the most enjoyable day of my job."
Sign language workshops, which are supported by the Jinja Deaf Association, have also been set up to allow parents to communicate with their children. At present seven children are being taught how to use signs, pictures and symbols to improve their communication.
Eaton Socon councillor Derek Giles, who has been fundraising in the UK for Spring of Hope, said: "I was absolutely enthralled by Teresha's determination and what she is doing. She is making such a big difference and the mini-miracles she is carrying out are phenomenal."
The next fundraiser is a coffee, cakes, crafts and Christian books sale taking place in St Mary's Parish Church in Eaton Socon on Saturday, January 20. It will take place from 10.30am to 1pm and will include goods made by Ugandan parents.
INFORMATION: Anyone wanting to support the project is asked to send donations to 66 Windmill Close, Ellington, Cambridgeshire, PE28 OAJ or visit www.springofhope.org.uk