Legal trio head to African school as part of Rams in Kenya appeal

Our Sammi Allen, Katie Bullimore and Amelia Sutcliffe have travelled to Kenya, with suitcases brimming with donated shoes and uniforms, as part of the Derby County Community Trust’s Rams in Kenya appeal. They heard about the opportunity through a LinkedIn post.

This is the tenth anniversary of the Rams in Kenya appeal run by Derby County Community Trust (DCCT). It takes volunteers to several schools in Kenya for either eight or 15 nights. Sammi, Katie and Amelia are heading to the Jubilee School for eight nights and left last weekend.

They received backing of the firm’s Partner Bally Atwal, who is on the board of DCCT, as well as Managing Partner Kevin McGrath, who agreed they could represent Smith Partnership Solicitors on the trip.

Since signing up in September last year, they have spent every month raising funds and collecting goods to take over to Jubilee School, which has 43 four to six-year-olds.

Sammi, a Paralegal at Smith’s Derby office, said: “Whilst we are there, we will be building two new classrooms and have the option to also teach the children something. That could be making crafts with them or a sport. Whatever you like really. The volunteers are actively involved in all of it, other volunteers within our school have already taken over building tools so they can get cracking straight away.”

The women needed to raise a total of £6,900 to fund the trip and materials and 20% of all funds raised goes back into the Derby community through DCCT and is used on projects run here. They set to work straight away and secured sponsorship from Smith Partnership, Avit Media, Specsavers (Derby branch), Lift with Leanne, Scargill Mann and Co and 36 Family Group Chambers.

Sammi said they are also taking a lot of equipment with them for the children in Kenya, some donated by children in Derby.

“Colleagues have donated things along the way either for us to take over to Kenya, such as clothes, or to sell and put the money towards our fundraising. We also held a shoe appeal with Chellaston Junior School, whereby the children had a non-uniform day, all donated 50p and brought into school a pair of shoes they no longer wanted but were still in good condition for us to take over to Kenya. We have more than 250 pairs of shoes all squashed into our luggage!

“We also asked on Facebook for a separate donation of £175 so that every child in our school can be provided with a new uniform and an old friend came forward with that.

“I hope the donations we bring along will make the children happy. We secured a large donation of towels, bags, notebooks, hoodies, t-shirts and hats from Coca-Cola all with Capri-Sun branding which I’m sure the children, and teachers, will love.”

The trio also set up a JustGiving page, held breakfast clubs and encouraged colleagues to raise money for the Rams in Kenya appeal during the Derby 10k.
Katie, a Trainee Solicitor for Smith Partnership, also held a Rainbows and a Brownies event which raised a significant amount.

She said she was looking forward to the experience.

“I have opted to help teach in the schools – I do not have a teaching background but I am a leader at a local brownie (Girlguiding) group so I do have some experience with children. It will be extremely rewarding being able to help in some kind of way. I think we will learn a lot from this trip. I am looking forward to giving all our donations to the children and their families. I am also eager to help with some building or whatever I can assist with.”

All three women said the fundraising had been difficult but that it was also rewarding to know what a difference it will make.

Amelia, a Trainee Solicitor, will help with building work at the school. She said: “We’ve worked really well as a team and have had brilliant support from the firm, as well as family and friends, which has made a huge difference. The feeling of relief we felt when we finished all our fundraising was huge.

“I think leaving there knowing we’ve made a tangible difference to the school and made something that will hopefully last, would be a great sense of achievement and make a true impact, so I’m hoping we manage to get everything done.”

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