A Fylde coast fitness instructor has told of the inspiring work he has tackled to help African children who have lost their parents to AIDS.
David Foolkes, 31, from St Annes, travelled to Uganda earlier this year to work as part of an AIDS prevention and awareness project.
The former Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College student, who works as a fitness instructor at Fulwood Leisure Centre, in Preston, revealed the reasons behind the trip.
He said: “Back in 2009, myself and a few friends visited Kenya, during which we spent some time with the Youth in Community Development Organisation, a HIV/AIDS charity working in Kibera slums in Nairobi.
“The work that they do was truly inspiring and was a huge eye opener for myself and my friends. It certainly planted a seed. After I got back, I tried where possible to fund-raise and sponsor children but felt like I wanted to do more.
“Fast forward a few years and I started looking at projects that I could get involved in and came across a HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness project that was based in Uganda.
I cannot emphasise enough how hard the guys work out there
“This sounded exactly like the kind of thing I wanted to get involved in, so I organised a month away from my job as a Fitness Instructor and started planning my trip.”
The 31-year-old travelled to Iganga in Eastern Uganda and worked with Emmanuel Maiso, the head of the charity, SIM (Serving in Mission) Africa.
During his time in the country, David helped to teach in schools and orphanages and helped with polio immunisations, tetanus immunisations and health checks alongside the volunteer health team based at the Pearl View Medical Centre, a field clinic in Iganga.
He added: “I cannot emphasise enough how hard the guys work out there and the real sense of community spirit.
“After successfully getting some of the children in the village back into education I have been working with schools in the local area and with SIM Africa to try to develop a programme which helps some of the poorest families get an education for their children, as unlike here, education comes at a cost.
“I am looking to return to Uganda to continue working with SIM Africa next spring with a real focus on supporting some of the amazing families who have taken in and fostered the kids out there and we are also keen to help the medical centre with some much needed supplies.”
If you would like to contribute or volunteer for the charity, go to SIM Africa Uganda’s Facebook page.
Anyone taking part in any running, cycling or fitness events throughout the summer who wants to raise money for the charity through sponsorship can contact the Facebook page or email David at firstname.lastname@example.org