ROTARIANS from Gladstone and Bundaberg are joining forces to build an orphanage in Kenya.
The Umoja Children's Village-Ukunda was started by Bundaberg school teacher Cathy Booth, who decided after visiting Africa that she wanted to make a difference.
Cathy raised money through donations and raffle ticket sales before she contacted Rotary for help.
Adele Hughes, from the Rotary Club of Gladstone Midday, and five other people travelled to Kenya last year to decide whether it was suitable for a Rotary project.
They came back determined to make a change.
"You come back and think, 'What did I go for if I can't do something about it?'" Adele said.
"It changes the way you think because the people are real rather than something you see on TV."
This year's trip will be to start building at the orphanage.
"The orphanage is in the process of being built. We're building a cow shed and a chicken coop, and planting gardens and fruit trees," Adele said.
"The orphanage needs to be self sustaining, and because the village is involved they are helping them as well."
During their trip, the group will also visit mentoring orphanages to learn what is needed and how one should be run.
They'll also be visiting the Kikimbala Children's Feeding Station run by the Hindu community.
"It's on every Sunday and only children under the age of 14 go," she said.
"You see them (the children) there with little kids, their brothers and sisters, or even their own kids strapped to their back to get food."
Adele feels more prepared for what the trip will bring than she was last year.
"This time we are taking more practical things over like second-hand reading glasses, brand new undies, first aid and dental supplies and musical instruments."
A total of 21 Rotarians will travel to Kenya in March, with 14 from Gladstone and seven from Bundaberg.
Building orphanage a three-stage project
THE Umoja Children's Village-Ukunda is set on more than 6ha of fertile land and will be built over three stages, to be determined by sponsorship, funding and donations.
Stage one is to get the infrastructure in place by building the first home, the caretaker's house and preparing the crops and the land for self-sustainability.
Organisers have also invested in a bus to transport children and to run safari tours to raise money for the orphanage.
The second stage is expanding the orphanage with more buildings, a health clinic, a primary school and vocational training school for builders, tailors and carpenters.
A secondary school, more children's homes and accommodation for university students for the university located 3km away from the orphanage will make up the third stage.
The Umoja project is also focused on giving back to the Kenyan community by employing local contractors and purchasing materials from local retailers.