A SOUTH Tyneside-born mum is set to bring more help to an African community in 2012.
Tina Wren helped establish the Mount Kilimanjaro First Aid Community Programme, based at a school in Tanzania, aimed at boosting health standards.
Mrs Wren, who was born and brought up in Primrose, Jarrow, has already won a Santander community service award for her African charity work, which includes spreading first aid skills and sexual health information.
A former counsellor, now based in Scotland, the mum-of-two personally funds her African trips, working as a volunteer at the Mount Kilimanjaro project for weeks at a time.
She said: “Turning lives around for the better, we aim to give people more choices and chances in every aspect of their life.
“Mount Kilimanjaro First Aid Community Programme and its JOYSAT (Joining of Youths in Scotland, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and Tanzania) projects support some of Scotland and Africa’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people, whose lives have been affected by a number of social challenges, social exclusionary drivers, disabilities, or young people who need additional forms of support.
“Offering alternative forms of education, the project supports young people who may have become disengaged from education, and struggle to see past their own communities.
“In 2011, we created a sustainable food programme, whereby the children from Newlands orphanage in Tanzania are now operating on a self-reliant basis.
“We helped them to plant the crops in order to help feed themselves. Now they have been taught the skills with which to maintain the crops throughout the year.
“In 2009, we trained young people from Scotland in first aid, who were then given a chance to join us in our work in the summer months, transferring their skills on to the students and staff at Mount Kilimanjaro School, also in Tanzania.
“Pupils from the school are now saving lives, teaching first aid themselves, and providing emergency treatment and equipment to schools and rural communities where access to education and hospitals are severely limited.”
The volunteer group has also developed a clothes collection and recycling programme, which now operates within Africa, working jointly with the YMCA.
Mrs Wren explained: “We collect clothes and deliver them to orphanages in Tanzania. Bringing together schools and colleges in Britain, we aim to develop further this side of the programme.
“Conservation educational workshops are held jointly with the African Wildlife Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.
“We encourage people to join in and learn more about the environment, animal welfare and conserving the environment.
“We also produced an education research project, which has helped implement and facilitate new procedures at Mount Kilimanjaro schools in order to improve educational standards.”
To find out more about the Mount Kilimanjaro project, visit Facebook at: www.facebook.com/pages/mount-kilimanjaro-first-aid-community-programme/262682353763172