Seven locals live in a box for charity

Seven young people from Lambeg Parish Church braved the cold weather to live in a cardboard box during a sleep out, to raise awareness for the homeless children in Uganda.

They were part of a team led by Aimee Gibson who, last weekend slept on the streets of Bangor, last weekend to raise funds for Abaana’s work in Uganda.

Since 1998, Bangor-based charity Abaana has been working to improve the lives of children living in poverty in Africa.

Overall there were up to 50 volunteers who took part in the two day sleep out from December 11 to 13. They were not allowed to go into the homes of people they knew, or bring food, or money. They could only be fed through kind donations of people or local shops.

Funds raised through Challenge 48 will go towards Abaana’s education and water projects and its work with Street Children in Uganda.

This will include seeking to rescue a further six children, during 2016, who are currently living rough on the streets.

The idea was inspired by a trip to Uganda, when founder of Abaana, Bangor man Scott Baxter met many of the street children on the streets of Kampala, Uganda.

Scott was shocked to find around 100 people using ‘coal’ bags as beds lying under the Kampala shop verandas.

The young boys slept at one side of the street while elderly women, were huddling together for warmth.

Scott decided to spend a night sleeping on the streets with them to experience what it was like.

He said, “We went down to the centre of Kampala with coal sacks and cardboard boxes and joined some of the children who call the streets their home.

“We spent the night there, and in the morning collected plastic bottles and scrap metal with the kids, and sold it for cash to buy breakfast.

“It was heart wrenching to watch the children wading barefoot through piles of rubbish looking for plastic to sell.”

To date Abaana has built 13 schools in Uganda and educating around 4,000 children.

Abaana has been working to help children living in poverty in Africa, principally in Uganda, for the last 16 years.

The charity have built thirteen Primary schools, currently provide sponsorship for some 1,350 children and work with children living rough on the streets of Kampala in Uganda.

The UN estimates that 150 million children world-wide live rough on the streets.

More than 50% of Ugandans are under the age of 15. 2.7 million children in Uganda are orphans, 1.2 million losing their parents to AIDS.

30% of street children have not been to school.