vitality tv, thrive africa and one woman's dream
On Thursday 14th June I left the office and headed down to Victoria to represent Vitality TV in our first ever involvement in a charity fundraising event.
I was there to meet and support Shanice Khayat, a 20-year-old woman trying to realise her dream to go to Ghana to take part in a volunteer program with Thrive Africa.
VTV were delighted to be asked to get involved and donated a prize to the raffle. A course of five yoga lessons with Jeff Phenix awaited one lucky winner!
I arrived a little after 6pm and preparations were well underway. Posters needed to be put up, DJ equipment set up and prizes displayed. Those of us who had arrived early got stuck in and soon the first of Shanice's family and friends started to arrive.
I had a chat with Shanice and she explained that this was something she had always wanted to do after her degree. The first of her family to attend university she hopes to be a part of something that will make a real difference.
Thrive Africa run a volunteer program where the volunteers pay for their trip and in return gain invaluable life skills. As well as the£750 she has to pay to Thrive Africa for her accommodation, meals, safe drinking water and all project materials & training, she also has to cover the cost of her flights, travel insurance, visa and vaccinations.
Whilst most of her uni friends had family they could turn to for monetary support, Shanice told me that her mum, a single parent, was just not in a position to help her financially and so it was up to her to raise all of the money herself.
So she took to the underground with a bucket as part of a joint initiative with Thrive Africa and raised an incredible£625, but she still had a way to go to cover all of her costs.
And this was how her friends and family came to be putting on a fundraising event in her name. It was a really good night and all the community got involved; the use of a local pub was provided as a venue, the DJ played for free, cakes were baked and numerous raffle prizes were donated.
A£5 entrance fee was charged and a nice amount of friends, family and locals came along.
The darts competition proved a success with Ray getting the only bullseye of the night and winning a tray of home baked muffins!
The VTV raffle prize was collected by a very shy Emma on behalf of her friend Paul, who had already gone home by the time his ticket was drawn. We understand his girlfriend is going to be very pleased!
This is the kind of local, grass roots event VTV like to get involved in. It's important to support our young people, especially those that choose a life outside of today's growing culture of crime and violence. If more young people thought like Shanice, placing value on education and wanting to make a difference, the World would surely be a better place.
During her three week trip Shanice will take part in three projects: Library Builds - improving access to learning resources; Orphanage Development - improving care facilities and providing sustainability; and the Orphan Welfare Agenda - providing home based care and support to orphans. All of Thrive Africa's projects are sustainable so she will make a real difference to the lives of the children she meets that will last long after she leaves.
We raised£285 on the night, an incredible achievement considering the raffle tickets and darts competition were only£1 each!
This takes Shanice one-step closer to her goal and we wish her all the best.
If you would like to help Shanice get to Ghana you can donate here:
Thrive Africa is a not-for-profit UK based charity, using the efforts of volunteers to deliver its projects.
They develop projects with local authorities and ensure each project is self-sustainable by the school or community where it is based.
You can find out more about Thrive Africa at www.ThriveAfrica.co.uk
(We didn't have a photographer on the night but I did my best! Shanice can be seen here on the left and Emma is second from right holding her prize from VTV).