A Cornish charity is urgently looking for assistance in transporting clothing to Africa for a group of young orphans.unnamed

Tam Martin-Fowles from Penzance-based Social Enterprise Hope in the Heart, is aiming to help youngsters, whose parents have died from HIV, in three communities she discovered while in southern Africa earlier this year. Tam now has strong links with African organisations supporting a community of children living on rocks in Botswana, in an informal settlement in Soweto and in rural Lesotho. With winter fast approaching the groups are in urgent need of warm clothing.

Tam said: “It’s already starting to get very cold out there and these youngsters, some of whom have formed their own community living in the open on rocks, are at risk of dying in the cold. As well as the offer of transport, we’d really appreciate advice from anyone with experience of this kind of charity work especially about how we get around barriers such as import duty on the items sent.”

Tam came to be in Botswana and South Africa after signing up to the Charter for Compassion, an international movement founded by author Karen Armstrong and based on her wish that there should be a Charter for compassion built on the golden rule: To treat others how you would wish to be treated.IMG_8900

“The Charter for Compassion movement is basically a network of networks. Cornwall was the first county to sign up to the charter under the name of The Compassionate Cornwall Initiative. Through this I’d met other organisations and that’s what led me to Africa in the first place. I went out there to do some training and networking.”

Tam originally arrived in Johannesburg in South Africa, spending time in Soweto working with youngsters from the district. “I read to them and I had taken some pens and paper with me and from their reactions you would have thought I’d given them a bike.”

It was while staying with a host family in Soweto that Tam first became aware of the orphan community there. Tam said: “We have boxes of clothes waiting to go, we just need some way of getting them there. Postage is too expensive. We are looking for companies or individuals who can either sponsor a box or provide the transport even if it’s to Johannesburg rather than Soweto. We have contacts in SoIMG_8404weto who would be able to get the items to Botswana and Lesotho.

Tam is planning to return to Botswana and Soweto in August along with her daughter Fenna. “We will travel to Soweto and Botswana to provide some creative workshops for HIV orphans and other children and young people living in extreme poverty with the aim of helping them find confidence and healing through self-expression. We are also hoping to develop sustainable links between the youth in Soweto and those in Cornwall, creating friendships and exploring the ways they can inspire and learn from each other. We are currently seeking sponsorship to make this possible.”

If you are interested in sponsoring Tam or are able to provide transport please get in touch by emailing tam@hopeintheheart.org or call 07792 604132.

For more information about Hope in the Heart CIC, its work or to sign up to the Charter for Compassion go to www.hopeintheheart.orgIMG_8427