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African visit gave teenagers new perspective, MP hears
TEENAGERS whose lives were turned around by a visit to Africa told MP Nicola Blackwood about their experiences in a bid to get more support for the charity which sent them.
Oxford West and Abingdon MP Ms Blackwood visited the Nasio Trust in Abingdon on September 13.
The charity runs two day centres in Western Kenya for more than 300 orphans.
It also helps teenagers in this country who have difficult lives with its Exit 7 programme.
In that scheme, teenagers help themselves by doing work for the charity, even getting the chance to visit the day centres in Kenya.
Lakisha Hendy, 19, told Ms Blackwood how Exit 7 had helped to refocus her attention on her A-Level studies, with great success.
She is now studying forensic science at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College.
Matty Ritchie, 18, who comes from a military family, told how his visit to Kenya had shown him how privileged he is, which helped him better to appreciate his parents.He now hopes to go to Sandhurst as an officer cadet.
To date, the trust has sent more than 50 young people out to Kenya.
Nasio trustee Graham Hall said: “To see how people, young and old alike, with so little can be so happy and thankful in spite of the most distressing family circumstances has been truly life-changing for many of them.
“As a result most have experienced a growing resolution of their personal problems.
“Our Exit 7 programme, if not unique, is one of very few to link two different kinds of need across continents and successfully to minister to both in the process.”
Nasio began in 2000 when Irene Mudenyo found an abandoned child, a boy of about six months old, in her sugar cane plantation in Musanda, Western Kenya.
She took him in, named him Moses, cared for him and made exhaustive enquiries to find his parents.
Unable to find either of them, Ms Mudenyo, already in her late seventies and a grandmother herself, adopted him.
Her daughter Nancy Hunt helped set up a day care centre for children like Moses in the nearby town of Mumias.
On the very first day, 15 children showed up and the work has grown ever since.
Nasio was later registered as a charity in both Kenya and the UK.
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