THROUGHOUT our lives many of us at some time or another will have considered giving up our time to help others – and that life-defining moment has arrived for Lawrence Mullen.
The 53-year-old Strabane man will take on an ambitious and brave journey to Kikambala, Mombasa in Kenya at the start of next year. When he is there he will spend 11 days building a rescue home for boys used in the sex trafficking industry.
Explaining why he decided to take on such an enormous volunteering project, Lawrence says it was something he felt he had to do.
“Volunteering is something I have always wanted to do and something I always thought about doing,” said Lawrence.
“I came across the Ray of Sunshine charity by chance after they appealed for people, to help them with their project in Kenya, on the radio.
“When I heard they needed help to build a rescue home for young children who have been exploited in the sex trade, I felt this was something I wanted and needed to do.”
The Ray of Sunshine charity provides support to the poor in underdeveloped countries, focusing on the plight of children.
The charity undertakes building projects such as schools and rescue homes to help empower and protect children by giving them a chance to improve their quality of life.
Before he leaves for Kenya Lawrence must raise €3,000. This will cover the cost of his flights, accommodation, transfers, insurance and more importantly it will cover the cost of all the materials for the build.
In order to raise those vital funds Lawrence has set himself another challenge. At the end of this month Lawrence along with his family and friends will take on the peaks of Mount Errigal.
“I would welcome anyone who would like to come along and take part in this climb and I will ask for your support in anyway for this cause. These children, most of whom are orphans need to be rescued and placed in a safe environment away from harm’s way,” Lawrence explained.
“The Ray of Sunshine charity, as I am finding out more and more each day, is an amazing organisation.
“They are dedicated to helping those children who are most vulnerable and who have gone through the most traumatic of experiences and I feel it is very important that we are the people that can help make this happen.”
To date Lawrence says he has already been overwhelmed by the support he has received from his family, friends and entire community.
“My wife actually told me the other day she was so proud of me, and the response from others has been unbelievable,” he added.
“I have already managed to raise quite a bit of money through sponsor sheets and people’s generous donations, however I have a bit to go before I reach my £3,000 target.”
Emphasising that this journey will be “no holiday”, Lawrence says he is looking forward to the experience and, “getting stuck in”.
• If you wish to donate or join in on the walk visit www.facebook.com/sunshinesunday/mounterrigalclimb for information.