Champion boxer Carl Frampton says he will “never forget” the sight of a starving toddler begging for food from a doctor on a recent humanitarian trip to Kenya.
The Belfast boxer and his wife Christine travelled to the east African country to see work being carried out by Irish charity Trócaire as part of its Christmas Appeal.
Over three million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Kenya and its neighbouring regions, and that number is expected to rise sharply as a devastating drought continues, the charity said. It currently reaches 150,000 in the region.
At a Trócaire feeding centre for malnourished children Mr Frampton met young mothers and babies receiving emergency food.
“One thing I will never forget was when a doctor was explaining about how this small gel-like package (which is just mushed up oils and nuts) is very good for the children … this toddler, about three years of age, came up to him begging for it. I’d never seen anything like it.
“So, right away, we were hit in the face by the reality of the problems and how the support Trócaire brings to the community can quite literally be the difference between life and death.”
The former two-weight world champion also met young boxers at the Mukuru slum in Nairobi, one of the largest in Africa, where poverty, disease and violence is rife.
“The suffering, the squalor and poverty that so many are enduring is heartbreaking, but ... there is the great work that is being done.
“It’s massively important to support the Trócaire Christmas Appeal. People back home are very charitable, but seeing it first hand, I don’t think you could prepare yourself for something like this.
“It was a short trip to raise awareness of Trócaire’s Christmas Appeal, but for us the memories will stick with us for the rest of our lives.”
For more information or to donate see www.trocaire.org or call 0800 912 1200.