9th Mai 2011
Sheffield students raise cash for new Kenyan clinic
Students at the University of Sheffield have raised more than £3,400 for the construction of a new clinic in the remote village of Tikeet, Kenya.
The Department of Geography at the University runs annual field trips for students to visit three villages in West Pokot, a remote part of north-western Kenya, 320 miles away from the capital Nairobi.
Currently, villagers in Tikeet have to walk seven to eight hours to get to the nearest clinic and have poor access to fresh water. The only local source of medical help for the village is a mobile clinic provided by the church which visits once a month.
Seeing the poverty firsthand on a visit in March 2010, motivated students to begin fundraising as a way of giving something back to the local community, in return for allowing them to conduct their fieldwork there. The first ‘West Pokot Week’ organised by the students upon their return to the UK raised £3,000 to assist the construction of a new clinic in Tikeet.
This year students have already surpassed last year’s total with activities like ‘Tunes for Tikeet’ - a charity gig in The Green Room pub on Sheffield’s West Street featuring local acoustic bands and DJ sets. A follow-up gig is already being planned while the second ‘West Pokot Week’ will take place on 9-13 May together with a raffle at the annual geography ball.
Amongst the students who traveled to the village this year was Emma Crump who is studying for an MA in International Development. Emma spoke of her shock at the extent of the hardships locals faced: “I was talking to a man, his wives and small children who had walked from beyond Tikeet as he suspected his newborn child had malaria. He then told me that because they had walked so far they had to sleep outside the clinic, with no malarial protection until it opened the next morning.”
The hard work of the students was greatly appreciated by the villagers as student, Emily Lyness found: “One of the most moving moments for me was speaking with mothers under the shade of a tree near the fields. Once they realised that we were raising money for their new hospital they were overjoyed and thanked god for our generosity. This really made me realise the impact that this hospital will have on the people of Tikeet, especially on the health of mothers and their children.”
Praising the efforts of the students involved, senior lecturer in the Department of Geography Dr Deborah Sporton, described how the money raised will be spent: “We’ll be contributing towards things like beds and supplies for the clinic, which is nearly finished now. We’re not the only organisation contributing to the clinic but this is an opportunity for the students to give something back. They’ve organised everything themselves and they’re very committed to it.”
Money raised is channeled through the Marich Pass Field Studies Centre and work on the clinic is nearing completion. Additionally, a borehole will shortly be sunk in the village, providing a ready source of fresh water.