ELIZABETH Jay, owner of Angel Hair in Lurgan is taking part in a trek of a lifetime to raise funds for orphaned babies in Ghana.
This week she started her sponsored challenge, walking nine miles every day on a treadmill at her salon Angel Hair in CIDO Business Park.
This is a prelude to her volunteer at a home for orphaned babies in Ghana at the start of February.
Elizabeth has chosen nine miles as this is the average number of miles many African children walk in their quest for an education. For many this includes, crossing rivers, carrying siblings, barefoot and whatever the weather.
Originally from Belfast, Elizabeth will be working for two weeks in February in the Mampong Babies Home in Ashanti, Ghana.
The 43-year-old mother of two went to Methodist College and after living in London, America and Holland, settled in Lurgan 17 years ago.
Mum to Leah McKavanagh 17 and Luke McKavanagh 14, her ‘two angels’ believes that we are very privileged in this country.
“The reason for undertaking this voluntary work stems from meeting African missionaries at Church as a small child. Their stories and work appealed to me. Television adverts are also a constant reminder of how privileged we are in this country, and I personally know very little about severe poverty or hunger,” said the salon owner.
“By volunteering I am aiming to give these abandoned children, love and attention they so desperately need, along with assisting the staff with their overwhelming daily tasks. I believe it will be a humbling and extremely emotional experience, and pray it is the beginning of a new direction for me,” said Elizabeth.
“I’ll be working for 2 weeks from 2nd February in the ‘Mampong’ Babies Home, in Ashanti, Ghana. This is a project that involves the caring of babies who are orphans. In addition the project owns a day care centre which takes care of both children from the community and the orphans.
“My sponsored challenge was inspired by a story I came across while researching, and it tells of a young 12 year old girl ‘Mary’, who rises at 5.30am, gets her 3 siblings ready, and walks them and other neighbourhood children 4.5 miles to an orphanage school. They have to cross rivers, whilst she carries one on her back, barefoot and in whatever the weather. As the orphanage has only one class, she must try to learn whilst caring for her siblings, then make the same journey home.
“The touching point of this story is her dream is to move to the capital one day and become a professional hairdresser. Many African children walk these distances for their hunger for an education to free them from poverty.
“By walking the nine miles daily for a week on a treadmill, is certainly nowhere near as difficult as their journey, but I am doing it as a mark of respect for their will and determination. I have also decided it will be the perfect time to quit smoking after 25 years, as I feel it’s contradictory to splurge money on cigarettes and be compassionate about poverty at the same time. So a challenging week ahead,” said Elizabeth.
“Whilst volunteering at the home, which is desperately understaffed, I will be assisting the carers in all their daily duties in caring for the babies and pre-school children,” she said.
Elizabeth is not just an ordinary hairdresser. She also specialises in hair extensions solutions for hairloss such as Alopecia.
To help donate, check out this link https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/9Pj9e?psid=b27c9ca27faf40c49fce89acf4a5b714