Lizzie Brichard’s Story

Lizzie Brichard’s Story

Lizzie Brichard was a recent Kithoka Amani Children’s Home volunteer. Read her story and the incredible memories she’s made here.

“WOW I cannot believe it has been a year since my trip. I am listening to my ‘Kenya’ playlist and referring to my journal as I sit and write this extract, wondering how on earth I will be able to sum up my experience in a few words! I flew out to Kenya in July 2019 to stay at Kithoka Amani Children’s Home in Meru. I was extremely nervous and very excited. I have never travelled solo before, let alone lived for 7 weeks in a different country on my own! My trip was incredible, and has definitely changed my life forever (something I never dreamed possible). I made so many friends who I still talk to regularly and I feel so blessed to have met Dr. Karambu Ringera, listened to her stories, admired her work and experienced the Kenyan culture first hand. I have a lot of dreams to achieve in life, and Dr. K was one of the very few people who has inspired me to believe that these ARE possible. 

Some of the projects I worked on whilst there included making curtains, building an outdoor gym bench and weights, construction (hammering a metal roof on!), cooking, teaching keyboard, teaching sewing, fishing, shopping for food, making furniture from bamboo and most importantly to me, teaching dance. I am a professional dancer in the UK and I was honoured to be given the task of choreographing two dance pieces and preparing the kids and adults to perform these routines at the 10th year anniversary of KACH. This was a great challenge, extremely different to teaching in the UK, but one of the most rewarding memories that will live with me forever.

 

My day started every morning at 6am by going for a run and working out with some of the guys who I was living with. Their determination, passion and commitment was sensational and if I woke up one minute past 6am I would have let them down! This was followed by lots of productive activities, and my day usually ended at about 1am after sitting and talking about anything and everything for hours whilst fishing under the moonlight, playing pool or dancing around a fire. 5 hours sleep later and I was ready to repeat it all again! Each day I learned something new about myself and each day I was able to contribute my skills and teach something to the children.

I would go back to this wonderful place in a heartbeat, and have promised Dr.K and others that one day I will build my own house in Meru and live there for a period! I still stand by this as 7 weeks is simply not enough time to wholly absorb this loving, selfless, inspiring culture. I have started, and will continue to always support this charity, my family. My only advice to anyone reading this is:

GO!!!….  Go and create your own story. BE THANKFUL, GENTLE AND FEARLESS

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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.