Larne-based charity Amara Aid got an early Christmas present this week from Belfast schoolgirl Aniesha Bedford.
Aniesha and her mum held three car boot sales and were delighted with the response to their charity stall.
Aniesha said: “I really wanted to help children in Africa. When I heard about the work Amara Aid does to provide a home and education for street children in Arusha, I knew this was the charity that I wanted to help.
“So I sold my old toys and books and other things that my mum’s friends donated and raised £340. I really hope that next year, I can go to the hostel as a volunteer. That would be an amazing experience for me.”
Iris Stewart, a director of Amara Aid, commented: “Aniesha’s gift means so much to us. It will pay the school fees for the 17 young people who live full-time in our ‘Whisperers of the Jungle’ hostel, in Arusha, Tanzania. We pride ourselves that Amara Aid is able to give them a caring loving, Christian home and a good education in an English-speaking school, an education that gives them an opportunity to gain work as adults, but we can’t do it without such generous support.”
Amara Aid has also received a donation from Larne businessman Sean Magee who has given a selection of traditional arts and crafts for sale in the charity’s shop at Murrayfield Arcade.
However, the charity continues to face challenging times with the hostel in Tanzania under threat from the construction of a new road close to its current site.
Iris explained: “For us, the most important thing is to be able to continue to protect and support the children. For them, our hostel provides a safe, secure alternative to their former life on the streets of Arusha. To see us through this, we will be relying on the continued support of the rural East Antrim community and the generosity of people like Aniesha.”
To make a donation or help support the work of Amara Aid, contact Iris Stewart, Thursday to Saturday, at the Amara Aid shop.