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Deaf children get help from Ulster in remote Bush

By Victor Gordon

Published 24/08/2007

Teacher Helen Moorehead has given up her career in Ulster to teach deaf children in Kenya.

She is overseeing the building of two classrooms and dormitories in the baking heat of the Tharaka Region of the Kenyan bush.

And she appeals to the people back home to help finance the provision of 62 beds for the dormitories where some of her pupils will stay.

Her school-church complex - provided by the Methodist Missions Society in Ireland - is in an area where temperatures regularly reach 40C, and soon the monsoons will sweep in.

Helen, the first woman missionary ever to move there, is known in Swahili as "Makena" - "Bringer of Happiness".

Originally from Bessbrook in Co Armagh, her career included teaching in the deaf unit at Tullygally Primary School in Craigavon, and then general subjects in Lismore Comprehensive.

Last year, with the help of Edenderry Methodist Church in Portadown, she decided to move to Kenya and initially taught in the town of Meru.

She says in her latest update: "I realised that the deaf children in the remote bush area had no education whatever, so I moved there and it has been the most satisfying period of my life."

The contract for the dormitories has been started, and 62 children are lined up as boarders.

Through the bed appeal, Helen hopes Ulster people can help finance the beds for the dorm. Belfast man Tim Dunwoody is co-ordinating the effort and he can be contacted on 028 90320078.

Come those monsoons in September, Helen won't be able to leave the area for two months.

But she will keep smiling.

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