Galliagh girl Rachael Crossan is off to East Africa in the next few days to visit projects funded by local charity Children in Crossfire.
Rachael works at Da Vinci’s hotel, which has adopted CIC as its official charity for 2012. Staff there are well on their way to raising over £10,000 for CIC projects.
Because of the link-up and fundraising, the charity invited a representative of the hotel staff to visit its projects in Tanzania to see where their donations are going.
“I heard two managers, Amanda Cregah and Natasha O’Hea, discussing the offer and I jumped at the chance,” said 23 year-old receptionist Rachael.
“I always wanted to visit Africa so it is a big opportunity for me personally but it is also going to be emotional. I think it will be harder when it is time to come home again. Everyone I have spoken to who has made a similar trip said they were very moved and that it had changed them personally. I’ve already been told I won’t be buying £60 dresses in TopShop after I come back,” smiled Rachael.
“I suppose it is fair to say I am nervous and apprehensive as well as looking forward to it.”
Rachael will have a tough time as, in addition to visiting health and educational projects in Kilimanjaro, near Africa’s largest mountain, she will also visit a CIC-funded Children’s Cancer Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city.
“My boyfriend has been warning me to prepare myself for that as, and I’m not joking, I cry at Trocaire adverts on the TV,” said Rachael.
The Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam has been funded by CIC since 2007.
JR McLaughlin of the charity said: “The money we raise in Derry funds the nurses and the medicine bills there. It is only a 30 bed hospital but we treat between 300 and 500 kids every year.
“Thanks largely to the kindness and generosity of people here in the North West, the hospital has raised its survival rate from 12% to 60%. But we are a long way off the international average of over 80%.”
Rachael has a number of fundraisers planned, the first a night at the races at Da Vinci’s on Sunday week, October 7.
She said; “My colleagues have been brilliant, as has everyone I asked for prizes or sponsorship. I’ve never really fundraised before so I initially found it daunting but everyone has been so very supportive.”
Rachael hopes that support will continue for her on Sunday week.
“There will be spot prizes, big wins and most importantly lots raised for a good cause. So come along or please make a donation - it couldn’t be going to a better charity.”