Op shop funding invaluable work in Kenya seeks new home

Carole Platt runs the Education Care Projects Kenya from her Op Shop. Photo Jeff Dawson

Aslan Shand

The Mullumbimby op-shop that supports children who have suffered extreme trauma in Kenya is currently looking for a new location as the building they have operated out of has recently been sold.

Having started in a vacant shop next to the Commonwealth Bank in 2016 as a pop up shop, the idea proved so successful that Carole Platt has now been running the The Education Care Projects Kenya Op Shop from the shop behind the Clay Organic Beauty and FarmCare buildings on River Terrace in Mullumbimby since April 2017.

Generous landlords

‘We have been really lucky with generous landlords,’ said Carole, emphasising that if they could find a new location they would like to keep the op-shop running.

‘Whatever we spend on costs here is less money that goes to Kenya,’ she said.

Currently the money raised is supporting 55 children who have suffered severe trauma to receive education.

‘There are many girls who are sold off at an early age, sometimes as young as eight, as a second or third wife,’ said Carole.

The right to land ownership can lead to the abuse of children and widows and ‘women are really second class,’ Carole continued.

Carole and her husband Leon, who is a builder, are assisting in building a school on Massai land for children with severe trauma. The project is expected to be completed in 2019 and in the meantime the money from the op-shop goes to supporting those children in boarding schools and with other services such as counselling.

Carole and Leon will be in Kenya from July until early September continuing with building the school.

‘Widows have it very hard in Kenya,’ said Carole, and building the school has also proved to be an opportunity to help the local community earn some money.

‘We employ the widows to carry water on their donkeys and then the men to mix the cement that we are using to build the school.

Closes April 4

‘There is a lot of corruption in Kenya and not everything appears to be what it is on the surface, but I have found two organisations that I know I can trust to work with.’

In preparation for moving or closing down on Wednesday April 4, the op-shop will hold a huge sale with all stock half price with lots of summer and winter clothing to clear as well as manchester, books, toys and more.

They are also happy to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering in the future if they find a new location, added Carole.

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