Montrose man to build on Kenyan foundations

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An altruistic Montrose man will be travelling to Africa for the third year in a row to help build a brighter future for poverty-stricken families.

Darren Cocker first travelled to Kenya in 2015 as one of a group of volunteers to help charity Gathimba Edwards Foundation (GEF) build a dormitory for 16 boys in Karatina.

Sarah Sinclair and Darren Cocker

Sarah Sinclair and Darren Cocker

In October last year he travelled along with friend Paul McDonald to help the charity build five homes in nine days in Iten.

Darren has been appointed project manager for this year’s GEF annual charity build, which will construct four homes in eight days for African families in October.

Already 22 volunteers have signed up, including Darren’s partner Sarah Sinclair.

He said: “The families and orphaned children that received these houses had been living in heartbreakingly deprived conditions, but now have a safe clean and protected structure that they can forever call their home.

“The growth of the charity has also allowed GEF to support local children who are also in need.”

Kenyan long-distance runners Mary Keitany, Linet Masai, Joyce Chepkirui and Wilson Kipsang officially opened the 2016 houses with Kispang helping volunteers to build one of the homes.

Darren, dad to Jake and Tyler, added: “As a father of two it was such an eye opener to see the harsh reality that Kenyan children are facing – in many cases they are parentless, homeless and are looking after their younger siblings when they are barely old enough to take care of themselves.

“Because of this I now commit much of my spare time to planning, fundraising and coordinating these trips on top of my day job as a construction site manager.

“This October, a new group of volunteers will be flying out to Kenya to build yet more homes for these families, and I am very excited to be project managing this year’s trip.”

To help fund the project Darren has organised a quiz and raffle/auction night, followed by live music from band BACKTRAX, on September 2 in the Montrose Legion clubrooms. He hopes it will raise awareness for GEF and generate enough funds to cover the cost of one complete home, which is approximately £2000.

A committee of family, friends and local businesses has been formed to help support and sponsor the event, and are currently sourcing prizes for the auction/raffle.