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Kind Kari calls for help to feed hungry youngsters in Rwanda

A NORTH Berwick woman is at the heart of an appeal for extensive work on a kitchen at an African school.

Pupils at school enjoy a bowl of porridge.

Kind-hearted Kari Spence, a former North Berwick High School pupil, set up an appeal to raise money for the project to ensure pupils at a Rwandan school would get a hot meal each day.

The 24-year-old was aiming to raise more than £2,000 to build a kitchen at the Faith and Hope Academy.

And a £2,000 donation from Removal Services Scotland (RSS) has meant that the county-based fundraiser has reached her target quicker than expected.

She has recently returned from her 13th trip to the African country, parts of which are still recovering from the 1994 genocide.

And Kari, a PE teacher who works at Spartans Alternative Academy in Edinburgh with teenagers who are disengaged with mainstream education, was pleased with the new kitchen.

She said: “The majority of students at Faith and Hope come to school starving and are lucky if they receive one meal a day.

“I’ve seen firsthand the impact this has on their learning, where kids have been falling asleep in class or bend over in pain due to stomach cramps. I knew we would raise the money eventually through fundraising, however I thought it would take up to six months. To receive this donation was a dream come true and I can’t thank RSS enough.”

These youngsters are delighted with their school break snack.

Thanks to the new kitchen, pupils at the school received a bowl of porridge at break. But Kari is appealing for businesses to support the scheme, which could cost about £14,000 a year.

“Words cannot describe how important this programme is to Faith and Hope Academy. Giving these children a meal is improving their lives and setting them up for a brighter future.” Since setting up the charity, Together In Sport Rwanda, in 2012, Kari has managed to help introduce PE into the school’s curriculum and raise enough to buy land next to the school, where sports facilities were built." Kari added:

Kari Spense with Rwanda youngsters making use of their new sports facilities.

She has also started a child sponsorship programme, and sponsors four-year-old William, who she describes as a “happy, cheeky lad”.

By Robert Muriisa.

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