Youngsters change life with India work

A SUFFOLK teenager with behavioural problems is today working with street children in India in a project which has “changed his life”.

A SUFFOLK teenager with behavioural problems is today working with street children in India in a project which has “changed his life”.

The project TEAM India was the brainchild of members of the charity ADHD in Suffolk, and two young people with behavioural problems volunteered to fly out in November to begin their work.

While one of the youngsters has since flown back, Jake Kennard, 19, of Felixstowe, will remain there until April.

Linda Sheppard, founder of ADHD in Suffolk, flew out with him and returned to England on Christmas Eve.


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She said: “Jake has settled in there so well. He absolutely loves it, and the children adore him.

“He is doing some excellent work with the children, and has also been made a team leader, so is now responsible for his own team of volunteers.”

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Jake, of Felixstowe, has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and had previously applied to do voluntary work with other oversees charities but was turned down because of his condition.

Mrs Sheppard, of Kirton, said: “His self esteem has soared through the roof and he has met so many new friends.

“It has changed his life completely and has achieved so much.

“We just hope we can continue to send people out there and help them in the same way.”

TEAM India are working with a charity called Children Walking Tall which is based in Mapusa in Goa.

Mrs Sheppard said: “This has been by far the most amazing experience I've ever had.

“We did see some harrowing sights but these were far outweighed by the happiness and excitement of the children as we went down to the slums and did some ad-hoc teaching.

“We also took over 60 children on a couple of beach trips. These were fabulous days, which the kids as well as the volunteers look forward to so much.

“As we were there at Christmas we also helped to wrap more than 1,000 presents and bags of fruit for the children in the slums.

“We then spent three days travelling around delivering them all, which was a great experience - many of the children did not even know what to do with the parcels handed to them.”

WEBLINKS:

www.adhdinsuffolk.org

www.childrenwalkingtall.com

n Do you know an inspirational teenager? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

It is hoped that a new group of young people will head out to work on the TEAM India project every six months but funding is essential for the project to continue.

Mrs Sheppard said: “We desperately need to raise the funds now for the project to continue after April.

“We need to make a long-term commitment to these children, some of whom clearly have major learning and behaviour problems, and we also need to give more young people like Jake the opportunity to show just how special they are.”

If you would like to make a donation, call ADHD in Suffolk on 0870 881 0464.

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