Coalisland man Seamus O’Neill recently delivered a collection of bicycles to Kenya on behalf of the Granaghan Outreach Charitable Trust.
“We go to Kenya every year to undertake projects, such as building school class rooms and other community based developments in rural villages throughout the country,” explained Seamus.
“Each volunteer funds their own travel and accommodation and all donations go directly to the nominated project for that year. We work through another charity on the ground in Kenya called Moving Mountains, who help nominate the school or orphanage in need of our help. They also supply the local labour and arrange the building suppliers, to work alongside our volunteers.
“During our trips I have seen first hand the need for bicycles to transport water in jars, bags of flower or grain, fire wood and also to enable children to get to and from school.
“Our call was answered initially by Herbi Stevenson from the Birches near Portadown, who arrived one day with approximately 100 bicycles in good condition, which he had gathered up after creating an awareness in his local church. The parishioners of the Warringstown Lurgan Rd Presbyterian Church had rallied around and collected these bicycles.
“With such a large contribution, this motivated me to renew our efforts and using the power of social media, I was able to collect just over 300 bicycles, with around 280 of them in very good condition and the remainder useful for spare parts.
“My next problem was how was I going to get these transported to Kenya, Again we reached out to the local community and were again rewarded,
“Sean O’Neill from Annaghmore Freight Services immediately agreed to transport them on the first leg of their journey free of charge and he then contacted Derry Brothers Shipping Company who kindly offered free shipping.
“Without companies like these, it would not have been possible to achieve task like this, so on behalf of Granaghan Outreach I would like to thank them for what they did.
“This endeavour has underlined to me the strength of our compassion and sense of community in Northern Ireland in coming together to ensure this good deed could be accomplished which will hopefully deliver great benefit to families in Kenya.”