Local nurse helping needy kids

MOST Australian kids cannot comprehend having to get by without books or even a bed, but this is exactly what dozens of Kenyan children have had to endure at a poorly resourced orphanage.

But one Whitsunday resident is determined to do what she can to help these children.

Erin Johnston is busily fundraising and will leave for Kenya on August 3 to spend three months helping out at the Familia Moja Children's Centre, in Mang'u.

The 29-year-old registered nurse hopes to take $8000 dollars with her to buy much-needed supplies for the 32 children who are living at the orphanage.

“It's something I've always wanted to do and the opportunity arose,” said Erin, who grew up in the Whitsundays and has been working at Proserpine Hospital for the past year but has also worked overseas.

“I thought I'd do it while I'm young enough.

“I'm not doing it through an organisation – I learned of the orphanage from a friend who worked there and gave me the director's details – so all the money I have raised will go directly to the kids.”

She said until she got there it was hard to say exactly what she would be doing but she would be helping out ‘in any way I can'.

“It's one of those things where I just don't know what to expect until I arrive.

“There is a sister orphanage that is even more poorly resourced – there are no beds or books – so the money I have raised will help these kids. There is also a hospital and a school that I can help out with.”

In the longer term, the idea is to make the centre self-sufficient with plans to buy a small plot of land to support crops and livestock and educate the children in farming techniques.

Erin has been doing a lot of fundraising. A booked-out trip on Whitsunday boat Solway Lass is one of her current ventures.

She is paying all her own travel and living expenses.

For more information or to donate to the orphanage, visit or

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