Christine Goonan and Danielle Hallahan.
Two Tipperary women are Kenya bound this summer.
Ballybacon Grange’s Christine Goonan (21) and Ballymacarbry’s Danielle Hallahan (22) are hoping to positively impact the lives of kids at an underprivileged orphanage in Waithaka.
Their desire to contribute to the east African country stems from their time at Presentation Secondary School in Clonmel.
“Here we learned that everyone matters and can make a difference,” Christine, the daughter of Michael and Catherine Goonan, tells The Nationalist.
Christine and Danielle, the daughter of Pat and Breda Hallahan, have been overwhelmed by the support of the local Tipperary and Waterford communities ahead of their trip on June 26th.
“The generosity of local businesses and people has been amazing,” Christine smiles.
“As well as us reaching out to the local communities, so many people have been reaching out to us offering any help they can provide.
"Danielle and I have done as many fundraisers as we could in the lead up to our trip. We kicked off our fundraising events with a very successful coffee morning kindly hosted by Danielle's sister Rebecca Doocey at her home in Russellstown.
“We had a very successful church gate collection in Newcastle. We had raffle cards distributed in both of our communities and the draw took place at Doocey’s Bar in Ballymacarbry. We also held a very enjoyable table quiz at Glenview Lounge in Goatenbridge.
“The sixth class pupils at St. Mary's Primary School in Clonmel have been incredibly generous in donating the proceeds of their annual coffee morning. We visited the class recently and they expressed to us their keen interest in helping the children in Kenya in whatever way they can. Their kindness is great encouragement to us.
“My own primary school in Ardfinnan offered their encouragement and help by kindly donating school books which we plan to take with us to aid in teaching our classes at the orphanage each morning.
“We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the fundraising in recent weeks and to everyone in both of our communities who have made each event a success.
“Danielle and I plan to use some of the proceeds of these fundraisers on games and sports equipment to bring with us to the orphanage for the children. All other funds will be taken by Danielle and I directly to the orphanage where we will give it to the person in charge to ensure its spent on the children,” Christine continues.
PJ Cullinan (scorekeeper), Christine Goonan, Cllr. Martin Lonergan, Seamus Hackett (quizmaster) and Danielle Hallahan at the table quiz in Goatenbridge.
Christine has just completed a four year degree in Social Care at Cork Institute of Technology, while Danielle has finished her Food Marketing and Entrepreneurship course at University College Cork.
Christine and Danielle want to celebrate finishing final year by doing something completely out of their comfort zone.
“This is something we have both wanted to do for years but the time wasn’t right until now due to college commitments and student employment locally.
“We have opted to use our time this summer productively before commencing our careers.
"From our research, we discovered that the orphanages in Nairobi in Kenya are under-resourced and understaffed. We both want to make a small difference and we feel this is our time to do it,” a determined Christine explains.
Christine and Danielle intend on utilising their local voluntary experience and team building skills in Kenya.
“We have not done anything to this degree in volunteering before now.
“Danielle is a keen ladies footballer with Ballymacarbry, which has given her great knowledge and experience in teamwork and community spirit.
“Personally, I have some knowledge due to the nature of my college course on going out on work placement over the last four years. My first placement was at the National Learning Network in Clonmel and I have also done placements in day centres with the elderly in Cork.
“My last placement was a challenging but rewarding one with the Simon Community in Cork city. I think the knowledge I have gained will contribute to my competency in working at the orphanage.
“I have done some voluntary work locally at St. Theresa's Hospital in Clogheen. I'm also a volunteer and fundraise with South Tipperary Parkinson's Support Group. It’s a charity close to my own heart as my grandad has Parkinson's and benefits a great amount from this wonderful support group,” Christine underlines.
Christine and Danielle are travelling to Kenya with Agape Volunteers, a non-profit organisation that provides aid in Africa where it is really needed through voluntary work and donations, and are relishing tackling the challenges that await them.
“Agape Volunteers have been very helpful and encouraging throughout the planning of this trip.
“We have researched the country to get a better understanding of the needs of those we will be working with.
“We had to do the usual preparations like having all of our travel vaccinations, and are now in the process of pre-planning our days in the orphanage such as games to play with the children and trying to think in advance of anything extra that we can contribute to the orphanage to make life a little easier for the kids.
“It will be difficult to give each child the one to one time that they deserve because of staff shortages, but we will try our best and work with whatever staff is available to ensure the children get the best care possible,” Christine adds.