Children’s home opens its doors to supporters

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HEARTS OF GOLD: Home director Mohamed (centre) with Annette (left) and Michelle (right)


THE Elche Children’s Home opened its gates on Sunday for the first time ever to welcome all the many supporters and fundraisers.
There was not a dry eye in the house as Director Mohamed Lamin Turad thanked everyone for their continued support in being able to provide them with the materials and items they need, but most of all, he said whilst the children are in a home, being unable to stay with their families for whatever reason, the most important thing they tried to give them was love: “We try to protect them and treat them like this is their home.”
The home houses 18 youngsters aged from 12 to 18. At what can be a difficult age for teenagers at best, those who enter may have a host of issues and psychological problems having experienced a difficult home life. Mohamed and his dedicated team try and deal with those and get them through, preparing them to enter the world as adults or be able to go back to their families.
It costs between €150-160 each day per child to keep them and government funding does not cover all the costs. The rest comes from aid from the Fundación Aros Del Castillo and fundraising, of which a large majority is done by the ex-pat community. Annette English has been raising money for the centre for over eight years and visits Mohamed regularly to see what items the youngsters need.
She proudly said the home has immensely improved over the years which has resulted in happier children also: “It really was like a hell hole. Children were lying on mattresses, there was no TV, books, games, it was awful and one of the first things we did was raise money to buy a television.”
As guests were given a tour around the facilities, the centre has now been transformed offering a classroom area for homework and teaching assessments when they first enter, rooms offer private space and bathrooms; there are common room areas and a dining room with new cupboards which were all fitted and supplied free of charge by HFS Kitchens.
There are spacious grounds and a vegetable garden and most of all, what guests seemed to comment on as they enjoyed a BBQ and live entertainment in the garden, was that the teenagers seemed happy, content and acted as the perfect hosts.
Michelle Diggle has been volunteering for a year and helps co-ordinate all the volunteers and the fundraising events: “I had been wanting to volunteer for a while but have never had the time. Now working part time, I was able to do something and as I have a child I wanted to support something for children. I came here and I just liked the feel of the place. Despite the fact that they have all been placed here for a reason, there is a nice atmosphere.”
Michelle said they are always in need of more permanent volunteers and help, even if you can just represent the charity at one event each month. For more information email Michelle at [email protected] or visit www.elchechildrenscarehome.webs.com

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