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Call for help for Cookham Ethiopia project

A mum from Cookham Rise has issued a call for more ambassadors to help with the village’s Ethiopia links.

Journalist and Media Hub co-founder Sarah Parfitt travelled to the Gende Tesfa community, which various Cookham residents support, as part of the Partners For Change Ethiopia charity project.

She visited the area last month, and now hopes to recruit more people to get involved in helping out.

“You really can make a difference – whatever your contribution,” Sarah said.

“There are so many brilliant charities out there, all changing people’s lives across the world – this one is just personal to me.

“I stumbled across the community and just saw a need, but the Cookham-Gende Tesfa link is about international friendship and reciprocal learning and that is why it has worked.

“It is a celebration of community both at a local and an international level.”

Various Cookham fundraisers have raised more than £13,000 and provided the eastern Ethiopian Gende Tesfa community with a sports ground, funding for vulnerable children’s breakfast club, and water points.

The Holy Trinity School PTA donated £2,000 from its school ball and St John the Baptist, in Church Road, donated money from its Autumn Fayre.

It is a poor community in the city of Dire Dawa where every family has been affected by leprosy, and as a consequence they are often shunned by other people.

Sarah travelled to the area in mid-November and was able to see the fruits of Cookham’s efforts, as well as take part in the Great Ethiopian run.

She raced in the 10km run with her Ethiopian born-friend Tutu Melaku, who manages a restaurant in Reading, and her father, who they pushed around the course in his wheelchair.

Sarah was able to see how Cookham’s generosity had benefited the community, and was approached by a man who said the breakfast club provided his three children’s only meals in the day, as his labourer’s wage only covered his rent.

The club needs another £1,000 to keep it running until June.

Now, Sarah is hoping more ambassadors for Partners for Change Ethiopia will sign up from Cookham.

“Building a link between Cookham and Gende Tesfa has enriched my life no end – it has been a cultural and spiritual adventure,” Sarah said.

Call 07900 4117 15 or email for more information about volunteering or donating to the charity.

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