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Why do I do this?
As most visitors know, each evening, from around 5pm, I take a walk around the local communities which surround the former landfill.
In my earliest days here, when the garbage dump was in full operation and over 1,000 children were working and often living here, these trips were driven by a desperate need to get these little ones off this toxic waste and into a safe place, into school and give them the care they deserved.
The garbage dump closure in 2009 brought a degree of relief and a new set of challenges. The appalling life on the dumpsite was gone but many families were without any source of income, bringing new problems with increased debt for parents and a new vulnerability for the youngest children.
Today, CCF’s Community Outreach team works within the communities, resolving a range of issues, maintaining the balance of assistance without dependence, and a multitude of social ills. But still the evening walks remain a key part of my days. Within such a dynamic and fractured community, issues big and small appear and more often at night when family and communities return to their homes. Being amongst these interactions helps maintain my connection with the children, families and community at large.
To be honest, these walks are still my inspiration and motivation. On any given night, I see the transformations of CCF children and teens, keep abreast of the community needs, sometimes helping the very sick or injured, or spend time with those soon to pass.
On rare occasions, I find a child who has never attended school and I put them on the pathway to a better future. This is the reason that I moved here and the joy of changing a life remains as strong as ever.