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Sunday 21 September 2014

Irish family help build future in Cape of good hope

Published 24/03/2014 | 02:30

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Jane Last from the ‘Irish Independent’ with children in Imizamo Yethu Township. Photo: Niall Carson
Johnny Darling from Dublin chats to locals as he and 320 other Irish volunteers arrive in South Africa on their first 'Mellon Educate' building blitz, as 1,185 pupils in the township of Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, eagerly welcomed their arrival.
Johnny Darling from Dublin chats to locals as he and 320 other Irish volunteers arrive in South Africa on their first 'Mellon Educate' building blitz, as 1,185 pupils in the township of Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, eagerly welcomed their arrival.
Margaret Fogerty from Co Kilkenny  and Niall Mellon leading 320 Irish as volunteers arriveing in South Africa on their first 'Mellon Educate' building blitz.  Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Margaret Fogerty from Co Kilkenny and Niall Mellon leading 320 Irish as volunteers arriveing in South Africa on their first 'Mellon Educate' building blitz. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

IT'S a family affair for some as work got under way on the latest Mellon Educate building blitz in South Africa.

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A Kilkenny family are among the 220 Irish volunteers who have travelled to work on the refurbishment and extension of the Oranjekloof Moravian primary school.

The school caters for some 1,200 children from the nearby Imizamo Yethu Township in Cape Town.

The Fogarty family – husband and wife Jerry and Margaret, and daughter Sarah – from Galmoy, are currently working on the project.

Their son David (21) – an Agricultural Science student in UCD – is checking on their progress from home.

This is Jerry's sixth building blitz as he has worked for the Niall Mellon Township Trust previously, including houses in the nearby township.

"I have a trade – I'm an electrician – and I thought I would be of some use out here," he said.

"This year is a little different because I have my wife Margaret here with me and our daughter Sarah.

"I have helped Jerry with his fundraising for the last six years and I always wanted to come. I just felt that fundraising for the two of us was a big task but I did it," Margaret added.

While working as part of the 220-strong group, husband and wife work apart. "Well I don't think we'll be working together out here," she laughed. "They've kept us on separate teams – but Sarah and myself will be working together."

Their daughter Sarah is just 17 – but is already on her second building blitz.

"In Transition Year last year I decided to go because my dad was going and I thought it would be a great experience," said the fifth-year student in the Ursuline Convent in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

"So four of us from Transition Year came – and then I just wanted to go again this year."

Sarah was meant to go on the Mellon Educate seven-day blitz to Nairobi in Kenya last November but the trip for Irish volunteers was cancelled due to security reasons.

This meant that Sarah travelled to Cape Town with her parents. She's keeping her friends updated on her progress via Facebook and Snapchat.

Yesterday was the second day of the building blitz and the refurbishment and extension of the primary school should be completed by Friday.

Irish Independent

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