Author gets ready for mercy mission

Published on: 02 May 2017

AN AUTHOR who grew up in poverty in South America is preparing for a mercy mission to help children left orphaned and displaced by an earthquake.

Anne Lyken-Garner, who has lived in Mangotsfield for the last 13 years, says she has been touched by the plight of young people on the island of Bantayan in the Philippines whose lives were devastated by a powerful earthquake several years ago.

She is planning to fly out in June to help around 100 children and young people resettle and rebuild their lives in a village called March, in the south west of the island.

The children are being schooled and taught skills such as farming and how to bake cakes so they can sell their wares and become self sufficient and independent.

Anne, author of numerous parenting and relationship books as well as two memoirs about growing up in Guyana, hopes to raise enough money to purchase an oven and at least one laptop, which means the children will not have to travel so far to complete school assignments.

Anne said: "When you lose your parents or your home it is devastating, especially for children. It would be great if they could now build up some sort of independence and have a bit of money to buy things themselves.

"The young people have to travel from the village where they live to another small village to get to a cafe where they can get access to the internet for their school work. If they had at least one laptop, they wouldn't have to go all that way and it would be really useful for them."

Anne, 48, who settled in the UK after living in Paris and Ireland with her English husband, will pack her bag with small items like nail varnishes, jewellery, purses, rulers and playing cards ready to give out to the children.

She said: "I want to do something which actually makes a difference because I grew up in poverty in South America and understand how little things can mean a big deal. It probably won't mean a lot to people living in this country but I understand because when I was little I didn't have anything like a bracelet or earrings which would have helped me to feel good about myself. 

"Just doing or saying something nice to a kid who is feeling like nobody cares means a lot and you remember that. I remember a teacher in my primary school called Mr Williams and he was really nice to me. I'm now in my forties and I still remember him. He was the only adult who was really nice to me."

Anne has a contact in the Philippines due to links forged by her church, the Church of Christ in Bedminster. 

Last year a group of young people from the congregation visited Honduras to buy shoes for young people and Anne's son has visited Cambodia to help street children. The church also supports orphans in Malawi.

Anne will fly out on June 9 for 11 days, meeting up with a fellow member of her congregation once there as well as a church contact from the Philippines who will fill them in on what has been happening with the children.

After flying into Cebu, she will travel by coach and boat for up to six hours before reaching Bantayan.

"I recently spoke to a businessman who knows the area well and he told me none of the money raised to support victims of the earthquake has got there because it is so remote. He said he was glad something is being done there."

Anne has set up a funding page so people can support her mission. If you would like to donate, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/philippines-displaced-children

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