Annahilt man Jonathan Hemphill will be flying to the aid of
children in Kenya next month when he brings some World Cup fever
to Lisburn through his Kick for Kenya campaign to raise funds
for Top-Mark Academy, a school/orphanage in one of the biggest
slums in Nairobi. Jonathan, a pilot for British Airways, first
discovered the Top-Mark Academy through his work and he was so
shocked at the conditions the children live in in the harsh
Mathare area of Nairobi that he has pledged to do all he can to
make, life better for them.
Jonathan said: "I found out about the academy
through a friend who brought me to see it. He took me to the
school and having seen the conditions there I try to do bits and
pieces for them and visit once a year.
"Having been flying the Boeing 747 and 777
aeroplanes for British Airways for the last ten years I have
been lucky enough to travel all over the world. Whilst many
'First-World' cities have lots of poverty, the poverty in many
African cities is still extremely shocking. So many of the basic
services that we take for granted in this country just do not
"The academy offers hope to the children,
many of whom are orphans or who have lost a parent who have died
from Aids, Cholera, Malaria or other diseases.
"Disease is rampant in the slums because of
the extreme poverty. However, the school is a beacon in the
slum. The kids that go there would otherwise receive no
education, at the moment over 100 kids attend and this number is
growing." To help the children, Jonathan has organised the Kick
Tor Kenya campaign which will see him gather 5-a-side football
teams at the Laurelhill Sports Zone next month to raise funds to
provide basic school equipment, food and money to pay for
teachers for the children. "Kick for Kenya will hopefully be a
fun morning," he continued, "where people mho love playing
5a-side football will have a great time and also be able to know
that their entrance fee money will go toward a really worthwhile
"The school these children attend is not
something we would recognise. It is a basic structure made out
of tin corrugated sheets with very little resources inside, the
kids are taught from a number of blackboards and that's about
it. When the school has enough money they feed the kids and it
quite often tends to be their main meal.
"The sixteen teams that have entered have each
paid �50 and this money will be vital to the school. "The teams
consist of some local businesses, youth organisations, local
Churches and also Liverpool and Manchester City Supporters
"The project has received a lot of local help
with Linfield midfielder Tim Mouncey very kindly agreeing to
present the prizes to the winning team. Tom Brannigan from
Brannigan's Sandwich Bar has also helped me to organise the
event, getting the referees and players involved so I'm very
grateful to him.
"The competition is being held on May 27 from
l0am1pm at the Laurelhill Sports Zone which has been kindly
donated for the morning by Lisburn City Council and the trophies
are being sponsored by Zest Audio, Lisburn. All of this support
is greatly appreciated."
With three young children himself seeing the
conditions the children have to live and be educated in
encouraged Jonathan to do all he could to help.
"As a father of three myself, it is really
satisfying to see these kids getting a chance and thriving and
hopefully making something of their lives," he explained.
"The school is in the process of being set up
as a registered charity and a lot of local people have done so
much to help the children.
"I attend Lisburn Christian Fellowship at
Queen's Road and I am extremely grateful to the people there who
send money and equipment out to the school every month which
goes toward resourcing the school and paving to keep it running.
"There is only so much you can do to help
alone and the people from the Church have been wonderful in all
that they do, but people have good hearts."
Anyone who wants to bring their children to
watch the competition at Laurelhill Sports Zone on May 27 from
10am-1pm are very welcome to go along. Donations can also be
made toward the campaign and those who wish to make a donation
can contact Jonathan at
With a little help from his friends
JONATHAN Hemphill's Kick for Kenya campaign
has received a boost thanks to a little help from his friends
who will be sponsoring the trophies for the 5-a-side football
Members of Zest Audio, based at Lisburn
Enterprise Park in Ballinderry Road, have not only agreed to
sponsor the trophies for the event but will also be taking part.
Owner of Zest Audio, David Honeyford said:
"We heard about the event because we go to the same church as
Jonathan. We are also involved in the fun-football league
6-a-sides on the astro-turf pitches on Friday nights so we are
putting together a team, although I seriously doubt we'll be
collecting our own trophy."