A teaching assistant is swapping a Durrington classroom for the African sun to open an orphanage for disabled children in Tanzania.
Twenty-three year old Daisy King, from Littlehampton, first visited Tanzania last April and was shocked by the treatment of children with disabilities.
“There’s a stigma around special needs, often based on superstitions,” she said.
“The way they deal with special needs children in Tanzania can be like going back in time. Sometimes the parents just don’t want them.
“Children are buried alive, thrown over walls and abandoned.
“There’s a massive cultural shift that needs to happen.”
Now Daisy, a teaching assistant at Oak Grove College in Durrington, has founded the charity Thrive Village with Nottingham-based Hannah Towlson.
She said Thrive Village will form a community with various levels of support for children and their families.
A small, family-style residential village will be home to 20 abandoned children and stocked with equipment such as wheelchairs, which are sorely lacking in the country.
“There’ll be an outreach centre where we work with families who have disabled children, with a focus on family preservation and education,” said Daisy.
“Special needs children often don’t have access to education so there will be an education centre for teaching.”
The centre, in Dar es Salaam, will be the first in Tanzania to focus on special needs children and, having found a location, they are hoping to move in by October.
The next step is to begin fundraising for the £43,000 required.
One plan is to run a ‘brick for a brick’ scheme, where donors can ‘buy’ one of 100 bricks, allowing them to put their name to the cause and enter a prize draw.
More information can be found on Thrive Village through Facebook at thrivevillage1 or www.thrivevillage.co.uk