Our guest speaker for last Tuesday's meeting was a very impressive young person Erin Hegarty, the founder of Mama Respond International.
Back in 2013 Erin went to Kenya as a volunteer teacher.  While walking home with a young Kenyan Nancy,  she asked her what did she need and her reply was "a better future".  The issue was around education with 130 kids in one classroom, there were plenty of teachers, just a lack of space.  Erin deferred her degree and stayed for five months.  During this time she was able to get built 2 classrooms at the Noonkopir Township Primary School, through local donations of material, cash and labour as well as using social media to raise funds back in Australia.
In September 2017 Erin returned to the same school just when they opened a special needs unit.  The room was very small with no amenities.  It was more of a daycare centre than an educational space and had no curriculum for students with disabilities.  After spending sometime with the kids in the unit she realised she could help them by getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for their disability. 
Erin gave a number of examples of assisting families with funding and where to seek help for students with a curable or treatable condition.  
Following her second stint in Kenya Erin realised she needed to 'officialise' her work to do more, raise more money, help more people.  She returned to Perth a year later and completed a Masters of International Relations at UWA.  Erin committed to opening up a charity and in 2020 she established Mama Respond International "improving health for better education".
The charity has two Kenyan board members and one employee working on the ground in Kenya.  They do the local administration work in Kenya registering Mama Respond, meeting with government officials, talking with parents, schools, etc.  Due to COVID they are unable to execute their everyday work of taking vulnerable children into hospitals for diagnosis and treatment.  So they are moving forward with building a state-of-the-art special needs unit. 
Noonkopir have granted a significant space to build the unit.  Mama Respond have a budget and five year plan to complete the build and operate the unit.
Unfortunately the charities big plans for 2020 fundraising and the building of the special needs unit were  cancelled due to COVID.  Hopefully 2021 will see the project started.