A group of enthusiastic locals will be putting on their running shoes and walking for two days straight for a good cause next month.
In its second year, Ocean Walk for Orphans will take place from April 21 to 22 with participants aiming to walk 20km per day.
All funds raised go directly to help pay the school fees of orphans in rural western Kenya through the Tumaini Miles of Smiles Centre — a children’s home and school run by local Kenyans and supported by different individuals from around the world, including Benalla.
Opportunity for education is crucial to help get these families out of the poverty cycle.
Tumaini might be a familiar name to some Benalla residents as a number of fundraising events for the centre have been held in the region during the past few years.
Many residents also provide ongoing sponsorship for individual students.
February this year marked 10 years since local couple David and Lois Tharratt, along with their four children, travelled to Kenya for the first time to help with the construction of the children’s home and to teach English at the school.
They were joined by Benalla locals Roelf and Rhondda Boer.
Since then the family have travelled back and forth multiple times and have seen a lot of change.
Tumaini is now home to 70 orphans and vulnerable children.
It runs a primary school from baby class to Year 8 and about 70 young people are being sponsored through high school.
A trade school has been established so that students can continue their education after high school and learn valuable skills that can help them gain employment.
Most recently, last October, Fallons Bus Service raised more than $80000 to provide a brand new school bus for the centre.
Sanitary kits were also provided to 70 young women thanks to a fundraiser run by One Wild Apple, with a long-term goal of establishing a small business to sew kits for the surrounding community.
Much of this has been accomplished largely through the generosity of people from the communities of Benalla, Wangaratta and Euroa and surrounding areas.
The cost of high school prevents far too many students from being able to finish school and that is why Ocean Walk for Orphans was born.
Last April Lois Tharratt, with support from family and friends walked 100km from Queenscliff Pier to Lorne Pier on the Victorian Surf Coast to raise money for high school fees.
She was amazed and humbled by the outcome — $13600 was raised.
After a considerable amount of interest from people wanting to take part, this year’s walk has been changed slightly to make it more accessible.
Lois and David are inviting others to join them on a two-day walk along the beaches around Anglesea.
They plan to walk 20km each day and are organising affordable accommodation for those who join them.
All those taking part are responsible for their own expenses and are encouraged to raise what they can to support the cause.
This year, Rose Bugusu, director of Tumaini Miles of Smiles Centre will join the walk.
●If anyone is interested in walking or supporting this walk, contact David or Lois Tharratt at [email protected] or phone 57273539.
●Anyone interested in sponsoring a Tumaini child can phone Tumaini Miles of Smiles Australia sponsorship coordinator Rhondda Boer on 57624167 or email [email protected]