Norfolk teenagers rough it for African poor
By Eldred Willey
2009: Fourteen young people from Rockland and Thurton youth clubs in South Norfolk braved a wet night in the open air to raise money for a project in West Africa.
Jacqui Hill, a youth worker from the Bramerton group of churches, and Sarah Woodger from Loddon, organised the sleep-out in field next to the parish church at Bergh Apton.
Lorie Laine-Rogers, a local carpenter, and Eldred Willey from Christian Aid, helped the teenagers to build shelters from scrap wood, rope and tarpaulin.
All but one of the structures survived the night, and only three young people had to evacuate to the church after the wind removed the sides of their shack.
Pete Tyson, a youth worker at the New Hope Christian Centre, helped the young people to cook potatoes and marshmallows on a bonfire.
Quest, a band from Thurton, played in the church, drawing in several more young people and their families. The word 'Alleluia' was carved on each of the three sanctuary beams above their heads and exactly matched the words of their song: 'Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.'
All but one of the teenagers had already taken part in summer camps at Horstead, where they learned about Christian Aid's projects.
They took on the sleep-out as a follow-up, and raised £450 for a project in Burkina Faso, the second poorest country in the world.
In February Melissa Ilboudo, a student from Burkina Faso at the University of East Anglia, launched local fundraising for the project, which is supported by Christian Aid.
It will provide water and drought-resistant seeds for 88,000 villagers in a dry northern part of the country. Melissa is currently in Africa filming the work of the churches there.
The project has matched funding, which means that all donations are earmarked, and will be quadrupled by the European Union.
If you would like to organise a similar fundraising event for Burkina Faso, please contact Eldred Willey on email@example.com 01603 620051