Job done as Shropshire charity bows out with pride
A Shropshire charity is declaring "mission accomplished" after a series of projects which have transformed the lives of impoverished communities in a rainforest area of Western Kenya.
A key element has been setting up a hospital and now, with the hospital on its own feet, self-sufficient, and with its future secure, the Greenfields Africa charity which was started by Brian and Barbara Hatton, of Tern Hill, is closing down.
In a letter to supporters – which have included Shropshire Rotary clubs and Inner Wheel groups – the couple says: "Our mission objective has always been to provide the means for a self-sufficient future for the impoverished communities in the Kakamega rainforest area of Western Kenya.
"We have, with your tremendous, unfailing support, created a hospital which is a centre of excellence with well-trained staff in a safe, caring environment which attracts nationally available specialist funding to pave the way for a self-reliant future.
"During 2019 the hospital became completely self-sufficient and is now ready to face the future with a committed staff of 34 with the wonderful facilities that you, our supporters, have provided – up-to-date medical equipment, state-of-the-art vaccine and reagent storage, excellent analytical and diagnostic facilities, a reliable digital management system, and a comprehensive security system including CCTV."
Brian said: "My wife Barbara and I started Greenfields Africa when we retired from work in 2005.
"With the aid of St Peter’s Church, Stoke-on-Tern, we built an Anglican church in the impoverished Greenfields township of South Africa.
"After this we worked in Kenya, supporting a severely disadvantaged community in the Kakamega rainforest of Western Kenya, developing a hospital, and so on.
"We have a board of six trustees. Our mission has always been to promote self-sufficiency and having reached that objective, our support is no longer needed. The job is done.
"We are closing down the charity on March 31.
"Looking ahead, Barbara and I do voluntary work locally, and we are churchwardens of St Peter’s, Stoke-on-Tern.
"We are both over 80 so we may find that we start to slow down. We are also keen gardeners, so we should have plenty to keep us occupied."
The charity began a jigger project in 2011, with a staff of 10 nurses on motorbikes going into schools and communities to treat schoolchildren – jiggers are parasitic fleas.
A Girls' Gear project served girls at 22 schools with washable, reusable sanitary protection, giving them a chance to pursue their education on equal terms to boys, and an education programme was an outstanding success, with 20 children taken into secondary education qualifying for university or college.
In their letter to supporters Brian and Barbara conclude: "As you can imagine this is an emotional time for us, and many of you may feel a little saddened, but we can all rejoice that together we have built a future for a whole disadvantaged community."