Ten years after three medical students were inspired to help some of the world’s most vulnerable children, they have returned to The University of Nottingham to celebrate their success and highlight future challenges.
The former students in question Dr Dan Magnus, Dr Beccy Lesley and Owain Evans established KOP in 2001 to support orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya on issues of health, education and social welfare.
Since then, with the help of student volunteers from 17 UK Universities, KOP has been involved in establishing a hospital, a health clinic, a primary and secondary school, two community/feeding centres and a support and rehabilitation centre for street children.
To mark their tenth anniversary, the charity is to return to where it all began this weekend, when it holds a conference for all those that have been involved in its success, along with volunteers due to visit Kenya in 2012.
Speaking ahead of the event Dan, who was recently voted BMJ junior doctor of the year, explained: “KOP started because three medical students wanted to give something back and were very aware of the HIV epidemic and levels of child poverty that were persisting in Africa. I’m not sure that we could have dared to dream it would be so successful when we talked about the first project in the medical school coffee bar.
“Since then almost 1,000 students have volunteered in numerous projects, helping to improve health and education for vulnerable children. However, just as important is the experience they get from seeing the effect of the widespread poverty and disease that exists. Not only will this help them in their own career but will also encourage them to be advocates for change, in whatever career path they take.”
The KOP conference, taking place at the University’s Medical School, will include a day of lectures on Saturday from experts including Nottingham University lecturers John Mcluskey and Eunice Ndirangu, as well as a representative from student fundraising society, Karnival. A charity ball will also take place on Saturday evening, before delegates watch a documentary film about KOP’s recent sponsored cycle across Kenya and take part in focus groups on Sunday.
Fourth year medical student James Williams was one of 36 Nottingham students who visited Kenya in the summer of 2010 to help at projects including: HOVIC – a centre for street children, Kochogo – a rural feeding centre and Alendu Primary School on the outskirts of Kisumu.
He revealed that the experience had been one of the best in his life and encouraged fellow students to accompany him when he returns to Kenya with KOP next year.
James said: “The trip certainly broadened my horizons, took me to an area of the world that I might otherwise never have visited and gave me a better appreciation of different cultures – something which will definitely help me in my future career. It was incredible to see all of the money I had raised being used to improve people’s lives and the chance to get involved with children at HOVIC is an experience I will not forget.
“I think that the conference will allow people to find out about all the work KOP does, from the people who really make the charity happen. For those who have been involved before, it will also showcase how the project has developed over its ten years and what they have planned for the future. After a fantastic ten years I think even more exciting prospects lie ahead!”
For more information about KOP, please visit: http://www.kopafrica.org/
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Notes to editors: KOP believe strongly in building a better future for children through access to improved education, nutrition and healthcare. Kisumu, where our work is based is the UN’s first Millennium Development Goals City. More information can be found at: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
You can follow KOP on twitter, facebook or youtube - @KOPafrica
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