Young man gives African mothers and children hope
AT just 21, Yeppoon's Walter Harris is making more of an impact on humanity than most people do in their lifetime.
Establishing his own non-Government funded organisation, Tasimode, dedicated to helping single mothers located in the Manyara Region, Central-Eastern Tanzania, Africa, the former St Brendan's student was visiting his hometown last week and wanted to update locals on his progress.
After travelling Africa when he was 19, Walter said it was heartbreaking leaving the people he'd grown to know so well, with nothing.
"One of the reasons I decided to start the organisation was because the last time I was over there in 2013, one of the little boys I knew in the village had rabies and he was running along the beach one day and all of a sudden passed away right in front of me," Walter said.
"And I thought I can't leave here and not do anything. But I wanted to create something that was self-sustainable and that the women could earn a living from as well as life skills."
Since then, Walter, now based in Byron Bay has worked tirelessly to get an edible sunflower oil factory up and running in the town of Arusha, which is well known for sunflower production.
"I see these women as extremely powerful, and focussing on the mothers is focussing on the children who are the future generation," he said. "We're also working on building a kindergarten."
Establishing the factory wasn't easy, dealing with the African Government and spending about $10,000 of his own money to fund the organisation.
"There's different ways of getting satisfaction out of life than just money," Walter said. "To see the smiles on their faces makes it all worth it for me. It's so amazing to see these people who have nothing themselves but still wanting to help people. But I want everyone to get on board. I don't just want it to be seen as my project, and I've had a lot support from my hometown and in Byron Bay which I'm really grateful for.
"These people deserve to have something like this."
If you would like to donate or help in any way, go to singlemothersfoundation.org.
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DID YOU KNOW?
43% of single mothers in Africa live under the poverty line and are unable to provide their babies with basic food, shelter, clean water and an education.