Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Becky finds recruits in Malawi

One of Victoria Park’s senior athletes and lead coach of our disability group, Becky Dunphy, who’s also coached by our Club President Graham Smith has been involved in a charity called the Dalitso Project for the last 11 years.  This charity is a very small organisation, founded in her home town of Arbroath, and it works primarily with orphans in Malawi, central Africa. 

The Dalitso project looks after more than 300 orphans in Malawi, many of whom have no living relatives and who would not be able to go to school without support.  Most of the children are day-care which means that they come each day to the centre to receive food and lessons as well as clothes, school books, fees and soap.  Some children however have either no living relatives, or come from home situations where they are not wanted or have not been treated well.  These children live in supported residences with their adoptive parents at Thyolo and Kambilonjo.

When Becky visits the projects (each year) she stays at each of the residential homes and every morning (around 4.45am) for the last 5 or 6 years, when she gets up to do her training (as per Graham’s instructions), she has a band of training partners racing her wherever she goes!  Which is always annoying when she’s struggling up a hillside at altitude and some wee kids come tearing alongside her! 

For the last few years she’s been trying to put her coaching skills to good use and give these youngsters some running sessions to work on and some encouragement to keep working on their natural talent! 

When the Victoria Park committee heard about Becky’s involvement with the Dalitso Project they were keen to offer support.  Club Secretary Gordon Innes met with our sponsor Katie Alexander of Achilles Heel and they identified about 60 unsold club training tops which were a previous design.  Katie was happy to assist and they passed the tops to Becky in August last year.

Becky Dunphy

The Dalitso project send a container every year to Malawi with clothes, toys, books and medical equipment (amongst other things) and they aim to send the container at the end of September each year so that it will reach Malawi in time for Christmas (as the sponsors from their sponsor-a-child program all send Christmas presents each year). The 2017 container actually left in early September and should have arrived in plenty of time for Christmas, but unfortunately a terrible storm hit the port in Durban, South Africa whilst the container was docked there, and the container ended up stranded in the badly damaged port, until the port could be repaired.  This delayed the container by about 6 weeks unfortunately and so it didn’t arrive in Malawi until the end of January.

Luckily for Becky, that meant that her visit in early February this year coincided with the unpacking of the container and the distributing of the many things that so many generous people in Scotland had donated.  She was therefore able to train with a squad of athletes and give out the Victoria Park training tops!  She assured us that they went down a treat!  Suddenly everyone in the village wanted to join her training squad! 

Becky thanked everyone at Victoria Park and Achilles Heel for the support and for helping an aspiring bunch of poor young athletes look so smart!

Well done Becky, so glad you’re such a big part of Victoria Park.