A CHARITY set up by a Sheffield University graduate to help street children in Bolivia has so far raised more than £40,000.
Annie Syrett, 25, was still studying in Sheffield when she launched Friends of Alalay (Santa Cruz) in 2007, after becoming inspired to help disadvantaged children following a six-month period spent in Bolivia as part of her degree.
The charity helps children living on the streets to help themselves, by encouraging them to develop useful skills and become involved in projects that should be self-funding.
So far, Ms Syrett has funded and set up a chicken farm, a pig farm and a vegetable garden, where children can grow their own food and sugar substitutes to sell commercially.
The charity has also extended an existing bakery where children can bake their own bread, and equipped a textile unit for children to make their own clothing.
Ms Syrett said: “I found living with the street kids to be a life-changing experience and knew I had to do something to help.
“I´m really pleased with what Friends of Alalay has achieved as many of these children might otherwise have been dead on the streets by now, from solvent or alcohol abuse or starvation.
“They certainly would not have lived as part of loving families or developed satisfying skills and gone on to further education at university or college, so I´m thrilled at having helped them find better lives.”
The charity has also paid for a dilapidated house to be renovated, furnished and converted into a fully-equipped street children´s medical unit and accommodation for volunteers. In addition to caring for street children, the medical centre also serves the local community.