An orphanage and school in rural Kenya now has its very own school bus thanks to Benalla business owners Larry and Jan Fallon.
The Tumaini Miles of Smiles Centre in Malava, Kenya, last month saw a dream become reality when the 33-seater school bus arrived.
Larry and Jan have been fundraising for nearly two years, and with the support of other local businesses and community members, were able to purchase the bus.
Earlier this month they travelled to Kenya with Tumaini’s Australian representatives, David and Lois Tharratt, to take delivery of the bus.
Mrs Fallon who was inspired to begin the project after visiting the centre a number of years ago said it was amazing to see the bus arrive.
‘‘It was an impressive sight to see the bus sitting there waiting for us after all this time,’’ Mrs Fallon said.
‘‘After two hours driving... we arrived back at Tumaini to much cheering and excitement.
‘‘The next day we had a celebration that lasted three and a half hours, filled with singing, dancing, speeches and blessings like I’ve never seen before.
‘‘It was awe inspiring.’’
Tumaini director Rose Bugusu said the whole community was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Fallons and all who had supported the fundraising project.
‘‘We are so excited. I have no words to express the joy that we have this day,’’ Ms Bugusu said.
‘‘This bus will enable children to come from further away, as well as allowing the children to be involved in interschool activities, such as sports days and music and speech competitions,’’ Ms Bugusu said.
‘‘It will be maintained by the students and instructors from the trade school, which is part of our centre.’’
The Fallons would like to thank each and every person who contributed to the project.
‘‘It is difficult to describe how much this support means to the children of Tumaini,’’ Mrs Fallon said.
‘‘Having their own bus will have a real and tangible impact on their lives.
‘‘Only through continuing education can the cycle of disadvantage and poverty be broken.’’
The Tumaini Children’s Home houses more than 70 children, with more than 250 local children also attending the school.
On behalf of Tumaini Miles of Smiles, the Tharratts would like to express their thanks to the Fallons and others for their amazing generosity.
●For more information on Tumaini, phone David and Lois Tharratt on 0429201149 or email [email protected]