Giraffes can’t dance – but they can certainly rock, alongside luscious lions, elegant elephants and even dastardly dung beetles!
The colourful rocks are among a series of painted pebbles created by members Spotted in Ely Rocks to support Ely teen Paris O’Keeffe.
Paris, 17, needs to raise £2000 so that she can return the slums of Kenya, to help out some of the world’s poorest children.
Paris was so moved by her experiences of volunteering in Kenyan schools alongside Ely College students that she’s fundraising to travel there again in August 2019.
This time she’ll be accompanied by her mum, Joanne, and friend Verity Grain, 19, who each need to raise a similar amount of cash to make their trip a reality.
Paris told Spotted in Ely: “I went to Kenya in October 2017 and it was the most rewarding thing I have done in my life. The people out there are so kind, they have nothing yet they would give up what they do have for someone they have just met.”
Humbled by her experiences, Paris recalls being given a piece of paper, decorated with stickers and a note, by one little girl on their final day at the slum school she was volunteering at.
“I was so touched that she would give up her stickers for someone like me.”
Another memory that deeply touched her was when the delegation visited the disease-infested Hilton dump, home to over 130 people, known by locals as “salvagers”.
Some of the poorest people in the world, the salvagers have nowhere else to live and survive by eating scraps found dumped on the site and selling cast away materials they can salvage, including jewellery and souvenirs.
Paris said: “it was a tough sight to see as children were walking around barefoot even though there was glass all over the ground. It didn’t bother them though, they were all playing and smiling and just being happy with what they had.”
As she had a bit of spending money left over, Paris decided to give each of the stallholders at the dump a donation.
“All of their faces lit up when I did that.”
Paris, Joanne and Verity plan to spend 12 nights in Kenya, volunteering in Nakuru’s slums and bringing over donations of much needed items.
She said: “The children have really worn down clothes, shoes and lack school equipment along with things to play with. Every day they are fed rice and bowls in a bowl which they have to eat with their bare hands.
“Some children have to wait longer and re-use a bowl from another child. Sometimes there isn’t enough food to feed all of the children so they have to go without.”
Paris is raising money through cake sales, car boot sales, and other events. Any extra she can raise will go towards essential items for Kenyan children.
“How rewarding would it feel to know that you made it possible for a little girl to have a new dress with a new pair of shoes instead of her old ones with holes in?”
For more about the Spotted in Ely Rocks’ Rock for Kenya promotion click here.
To donate to Paris’s crowd funding page click here.