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Charitable Trust / World Vision (Africa)

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Milly, Molly and World Vision in Africa

The objective of The Friends of Milly, Molly (N.Z.) Inc. is "to promote the acceptance of diversity and the learning of life skills through literacy–for every child a book".

With that objective always in mind, my wife Anne and I recently travelled to Tanzania and Uganda for two weeks with Helen Green, CEO of World Vision New Zealand to view World Vision projects which encompassed housing, education, food and HIV/AIDS assistance. We also went to distribute Milly Molly books, soccer balls and netballs on behalf of our charity, The Friends of Milly Molly. We will never forget what we saw. It was sad, depressing, hopeful, uplifting and occasionally scary.


John Clough with Helen Green, CEO of World Vision, N.Z
We had travelled to Africa previously to view animals in the wild, but this was a totally alien experience. We did not see any wild animals this time but did receive a crash course in living in the Third World. This is a different world to the one we have grown accustomed to. Personal safety is not guaranteed, water doesn't flow out of a tap and the food supply is greatly limited and severely restricted in choice.

The following four experiences remain upper most in my mind:


1. The group of forty Tanzanian people, mostly women, who were bucking the social trend to hide their HIV/AIDS status, and were supporting each other to live positively with their disease.

2. The children's faces when we handed out the Milly, Molly books. This was the first time they had owned their own book!


John Clough distributing Milly, Molly Books to schools in Tanzania
3. The two young boys in Uganda aged 13 and 11 who had both lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. They lived in a mud hut, wore rags for clothes, had no adults to look after them and were therefore responsible for all the things their parents would naturally do but couldn't, because they were dead. The 11 year old had blisters around his mouth and when we asked what they were caused by, the interpreter explained that they were the result of eating poisonous leaves because they had no food. Thank goodness World Vision Uganda has agreed to support them with funds donated from New Zealand.

4. The excitement the books, soccer balls and netballs created in local schools that we visited. At one school we were rushed by countless children who were used to playing with balls made of banana leaves (not very round and with limited bounce). As they moved towards us the closest children strove to touch our hands and then threw themselves on the floor, with appreciation.

Since returning to New Zealand our friends have asked about our "holiday"; well it certainly wasn't that. "Life-changing experience" isn't quite right either but it is the closest phrase I can find.

John Clough distributing Milly, Molly Books to children in Tanzania
There is an insatiable need, not only for the basic requirements for survival and healthy living, but also for the educational opportunities that will give children a purpose, a healthy self-esteem, respect for others and a goal to strive for. It is this important educational contribution that The Friends of Milly, Molly are committed to making to our strategic alliance with World Vision N.Z.

Do what you can! You won't change the world, but you can make a positive difference to children's lives.

John Clough
National Executive Director
The Friends of Milly, Molly (N.Z.) Inc.