Seven students from Sunderland are on a life-saving mission to raise money for a trip to an East African orphanage.
The Sunderland College students hope to be able to take the trip to Tanzania in order to help staff and teach the people there about disease prevention.
To be able to travel the students need to raise around £22,000 so they have launched a fund-raising appeal which started with an exhibition of traditional Tanzanian art.
Lisa Burns, 20, a student on the college’s ‘Steps 4 Change’ programme which aims to give young people a second chance in education, said: “Every year diarrhoea kills around 1.5million children under five.
“Many of these are preventable and are caused by a lack of hygiene that leads to diarrhoea and then death.
“We’re hoping to raise enough money to be able to travel to an orphanage to help the staff and teach them and the children about hygiene and sanitation.
“The art exhibition was just the start of it, we’ve got lots of fund-raising activities planned between now and when we hope to travel in July so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.”
The exhibition took place at Sunderland University’s North Shore student campus and showcased art produced by trained orphans.
Mick Reavey, the Sunderland College lecturer organising the trip, said: “By travelling to Tanzania we hope to raise awareness for the problems faced by millions of people across Africa.
“Something as simple as a bar of soap is considered an unaffordable luxury yet can help save so many lives.
“A lack of cash prevents the orphanage being able to buy the things that would help prevent disease and other basic items, such as bed sheets and play equipment.
“The children don’t always understand the link between germs and disease and with water being so precious the children don’t bother to wash their hands after going to the toilet or before they eat and as a result many get more ill, or even die.
“The trip is also about the students though. You see them develop so much through working with others outside their peer group and with those they would never have another opportunity to meet.”
The trip is being organised in conjunction with the University of Sunderland and is being run by The Mount Kilimanjaro First Aid Community Programme.
All the money raised is going towards supporting the trip and buying supplies for the orphanage.
As well as the art exhibition the students have planned bake sales, a race-night, bag-packs in local supermarkets and have ten tickets donated by Invest in Africa for the upcoming Sunderland AFC versus Manchester United football match to auction.
Lisa, from Pennywell, Sunderland, said: “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve been unemployed and out of education for a while so this is a fantastic opportunity for me to do some good.
“I hope by travelling to Tanzania I can get a bit of life experience and get a better idea of how other people live.
“It’s going to be tough to raise all the money needed but I’m confident we can do it and help make a change for the better.”
For more information or to donate money towards the trip email firstname.lastname@example.org.