Published: 00:01, 27 March 2017
Items such as old phones, clothes and books will help a Deal man fulfil his dream of building and furnishing a new school for orphans in Uganda.
Kai Cant, who grew up in St Margaret’s and now lives in Deal and Ibiza, is the owner of one of the UK’s largest dance music events named ABODE, which hosts parties all over the UK and Europe.
The 34-year-old, who left St Edmund’s Catholic School in Dover with no qualifications, has just returned from the mountains of Kabale in western Uganda where he hopes to provide children who could only have dreamed of an education with just that.
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During his time there, Kai and his business partner Peter Clout-Hart, 30, purchased a plot of land for £3,500. They also provided 75 children with brand new school uniforms and paid the teachers their salaries for the next three months.
To top it off, they paid the rent on a temporary building made of wood and mud until May when they plan to return to build a four-classroom school for 100 children, mostly orphans.
The trips are self-funded but Kai and Peter are looking to raise half of the £10,000 needed for the building costs through donations.
Kai is also asking readers to support him by donating any spare children’s clothes, shoes, books and even electrical goods such as old mobile phones and laptops.
Kai said: “This is important to me because I was kicked out of school quite young and I didn’t really have an education. “I want to provide these children with one.”
It was a Facebook post about a similar project being run just two miles away that inspired Kai to roll his sleeves up.
Touched by the difference people were making to the area, he left a comment saying he’d like to get involved. The next thing he knew, he had received a private message.
He said: “A man messaged me saying how the families there live way below the poverty line and if I wanted to do anything to help he could point me in the right direction.”
That man, Ronald Twongyeirwe, is now the director of the school project.
Kai said: “We aim to fund the school for the next five years and make it self sustainable by 2018.
“We will teach the children how to grow their own food and install solar panels to power the school. We’d also like to sponsor some kids to go on to college and university.”
Other costs include paying the eight teachers who will gain full time employment from the project a wage of £40 a month. Food costs for both the children and teachers amounts to £80 a week.
The father of three-year-old Freddie described his trip there as life changing.
He said: “The school is up a mountain where there is no electricity or running water. Many walk to school in bare foot, which for some is a two hour trek each way. One was only three and he walked on his own each day.
“They only have one pair of clothes which they have on and they’re filthy because there’s no water for them to clean.
“Most kids get one meal a day which they share and it’s normally a potato or rice, if they’re lucky. All of their parents or guardians including the women work mining from 7am until 6pm for less than $1 a day.
“It was really life changing. I’d like to take my little boy out there to show him how lucky we are.”
But despite their poverty, Kai described the children as some of the happiest he’s ever met.
He said: “I took four suitcases of goods out with me, filled with everything I thought they might like – bubbles, balls, glitter, and they were jumping for joy.
“These kids are extremely poor and just about survive but they were honestly the happiest I have ever met.”
Once built, the school will need to be furnished. Kai is hoping to strike a deal with a local school who is going to donate old furniture to fill a container which will be shipped in April.
He would like to hear from anybody who may be able to donate a container. He will fund the cost of sending it.
Kai and Peter will return to the mountain at least four times a year to monitor the school’s progress.
To offer your help email Kai on firstname.lastname@example.org or donate here.
Donated clothes and items can be left at the Mercury office in Queen Street, Deal.
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