Mary and Richard Walsh, Upper Street, Kilmacow, hosted the Official Launch of Opportunity Knox Charity in the Kilmacow Community Centre on Monday April 10th 2017 at 8.00 p.m.
A large audience of over 60 people attended the event which was opened by Mary Walsh who spoke about the birth of the new Charity which had been the brain child of Harry and Ursula Knox. She introduced the other Directors of the Charity, Maria O Mahony and John Carey.
She then called on Harry Knox to give an outline of the history of how the charity had come into existence. Harry explained that he and Ursula had travelled to Uganda with World Vision Ireland in November 2015 as part of a group of 20 people who supported World Vision projects in Uganda. There they met Elvis, along with his father. Elvis was a boy whose education they had been sponsoring for 10 years. Having visited various projects comprising schools, medical centres, saving clubs and agricultural lands it OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF OPPORTUNITY KNOX CHARITY MONDAY APRIL 10TH 2017 was obvious how impoverished the people of Rural Uganda really were.
As part of the activities they then visited a young man Wmima John Kennedy who has a small garage for motorcycle taxis that needed repairs. As he described his training as a mechanic with support for World Vision, Both Harry and Ursula were impressed by how articulate he was in describing his training as well as his fluency in English.
They were overcome with the level of poverty that they witnessed in these rural people most of whom lived in their mud huts with grass roofs. They decided they would like to contribute in some way to help the plight of these poor rural people who seemed to be neglected.
By coincidence when they returned home, John Kennedy had sent a Facebook friend request to Harry and over the next couple of months they texted each other many many times getting to know more about each other’s country as well as John informing Harry of the plight of the poorest of the poor dwellers from his local village and parish of Tiira.
Harry hatched a plan for a “no overheads” charity which he felt would have more than a good chance of resonating with the public. His concept was that if he and Ursula sponsored all of the administration costs of the Charity including their own travelling expenses to visit Uganda, then people would be interested in supporting it knowing that 100% of their donations would g to buying products and services for the children of these rural dwellers whose greatest difficulty was paying the cost to keep their children at school.
They visited Tiira Village again in April and in December 2016 and interviewed and assessed the poorest families to determine their needs, especially those of their children. As a result of both of these visits they have commenced supporting 40 families and have bought mattresses and blankets for the children who needed them, so that they could sleep well and to more readily learn and benefit from attending school regularly each day.
Harry showed some film footage of people of all ages including women and children digging for gold, which is a commodity that has been found in the land all around the village. It is dangerous work, especially for children.20 boys who had already left primary school to work in the mines were attracted back to school by having the worry of paying the fees and other costs lifted from their parent’s shoulders
Ursula spoke about how hard-working the women were and how sub-servant they were to their husbands and to the village leaders. She spoke of how the children loved having her read stories to them and also how the children liked playing games with her. They observed in April that the children had no toys to play with, so they brought a soft toy and some age appropriate reading material to each child.
This part of the meeting closed with the screening of a filmed interview of Wmima John Kennedy from Tiir Village speaking about how the Charity has already begun to change the lives of the villagers. villagers.
The evening was brought to a close by Richard Walsh who spoke of his friendship with Harry Knox and his brothers as their characters were formed through their playing of games on the parish lands more commonly known as “The Farm”.
He said that he had no doubts about the integrity of the Trustees of the Charity and could recommend to the local community to support Opportunity Knox.
He thanked the Committee of the Community Hall for providing an excellent facility free of charge to help launch Opportunity Knox. Tea/Coffee and biscuits were served and the Trustees mixed with all who attended.