Strokestown man’s Mount Everest challenge for Childaid

Strokestown native Scott Barrow hopes to take on the tallest mountain in the world in November to raise money for the charity ‘ChildAid’. This is a humanitarian organisation formed by Irish Aid Workers and Defence Forces personnel who worked on street children projects in Africa and continue to support these projects. Over 20 climbers from all over the country are taking part in the trek and have to raise €5,000 each to participate. The school project in Nairobi is led by Fr. Pat O’Toole of the Holy Ghost Fathers. Pat, who is originally from Ballinrobe Co. Mayo, has been pastor to the impoverished people of the slum for over twenty years. Half a million people survive in the slum. Overcrowding is rife and sanitation elementary. When the floods come, as they do in the rainy season, the red earth turns into marsh, latrines overflow and disease is rife. Families somehow exist in corrugated iron shacks, measuring 10′ x 10′. These hovels can accommodate up to ten people. There is no electricity and the lucky ones make do with oil lamps and charcoal stoves. Funerals are frequent as people’s resistance is low due to poor nutrition and unsanitary conditions – AIDS is the great killer. The slum is characterised by the large number of single mothers and female-headed households. Opportunities for these are non-existent and many resort to brewing illegal liquor or commercial sex. Sadly, many of the children do not receive any education. Many are orphaned, abandoned, addicted to glue or are engaged in prostitution. They have almost no chance of survival. A large proportion will die from beatings, hunger, drugs, and diseases from dirt or uncared for wounds. To assist in his fundraising effort, Scott is holding a Karaoke night and raffle on Saturday, 29th September 2007 in Frank’s Bar, Ballybeg, Strokestown. Admission will be optional and it is hoped there will be a good night had by all. Sponsorship cards and tins are available in local shops and post office.