Walk of hope for Romanian orphans raises over £5,000

Staff from The Laurels Primary School during the sponsored walk along the White Cliffs of Dover
Staff from The Laurels Primary School during the sponsored walk along the White Cliffs of Dover

The white cliffs of Dover have long been seen as a symbol of hope.

And as they walked along the clifftops, Wayne and Sarah Gander wanted to bring some of that hope to children who need it most.

While we couldn’t have a conversation with them, just being there and playing with them showed that while there was a language barrier, love has no barriers

Wayne Gander

The couple from Durrington organised the sponsored walk on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 to raise money for an orphanage they visited in Ilisua, Romania.

Attended by family, friends and Sarah’s colleagues at The Laurels Primary School, the group raised £5,000 which will be spent on installing an outdoor playground.

Wayne, 48, said the six-mile walk was ‘spectacular’ and a great success.

“It was the hottest weekend of the year so we were all quite red-faced by the end of it.

“What we discovered was that the walk along the coastline of Dover has been called the walk of hope, and in many ways that is what ours was: a walk to bring hope to the kids we met in Romania.”

The money was raised on behalf of the Amen Trust, a faith-based charity which helps poor and vulnerable communities around the world.

In December, Wayne and Sarah, 49, visited the orphanage as part of a trip to deliver Christmas shoeboxes filled with food and gifts.

Wayne said they were taken aback by the basic conditions the children lived in and felt they needed to do more to help.

Speaking to the authorities who ran the orphanage, Wayne discovered that staffing levels were so low that at times one or two adults were looking after 60 children.

He said: “Living without an adult role model and deprived of a parent’s love, the children were very affectionate. We were taken aback that they quite happily came over and held your hand or put an arm around you.

“While we couldn’t have a conversation with them, just being there and playing with them showed that while there was a language barrier, love has no barriers.

“Being there was very sad and moving – you would have to be a very hard-hearted person to not be touched by the fact that these lovely little kids have just been abandoned by their families. That shouldn’t happen to any child.”

To donate or find out more information, visit amentrust.co.uk.