Cumbria charity worker, 23, becomes ‘dad’ to abandoned teenagers in Kenya
Last updated at 17:42, Wednesday, 25 September 2013
THE future of 12 orphaned Kenyan boys who faced “incomprehensible” suffering looks brighter – after a 23-year-old charity worker from Cumbria took them under his wing.
Elliot Berry, from Troutbeck Bridge, has become ‘house parent’ to the teenagers at Open Arms International village near Eldoret, in the far west of Kenya.
The village provides a secure home and an education for more than 100 children who have been orphaned, abandoned or who ran away from home because of neglect or abuse.
Mr Berry moved to the village to work as a counsellor, but he was then asked to become a house parent at Neema House, a childrens’ home in the village.
He said: “At 23, I didn’t expect to become a single parent to 12 teenage boys! It can be exhausting, and sometimes it’s a bit daunting, but it is also a huge privilege to be part of the boys’ lives and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Before they came to Open Arms, many of the boys experienced suffering that most people can’t comprehend. It is wonderful to be able to see them thrive as part of my family.”
One of the children under Mr Berry’s care is Daniel, 16.
He ran away from his home aged five because his father’s new wife rejected him and spent seven years on the streets, starving and addicted to glue.
When he was 12, he was rescued and went to live at the Open Arms village.
Now he is consistently at the top of his class, and competes in football and long distance running at a county level. His nickname is ‘Zing Zing’ which translates as ‘Best Best’.
Mr Berry first moved to Kenya following the completion of a children’s home, built with £45,000 raised by staff and directors of the Windermere-based English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues.
His work in Kenya is self-funded so he needs to raise money to pay for living costs, and has organised a fundraising dinner at Low Wood Bay on October 4.
Tickets are £30 each and guests will enjoy a three course dinner with a presentation from Mr Berry about the Open Arms International project, alongside guest speakers.
To buy a ticket contact Elliot Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07747 560294.
First published at 16:08, Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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what a heart warming story. Really moving