A Bede’s student with disabilities has travelled to Africa to inspire a group of students and to be reunited with her best friend.
Hannah Message, 17, a sixth form student at Bede’s Senior School who has moderate disabilities, made an emotional journey to East Africa to see her friend Winie Kubitta and gave a series of inspirational speeches to schoolchildren.
Following a 14-hour journey on October 22, Hannah arrived in the Ugandan village of Kabubbu where Hailsham-based charity Quicken Trust have been working for 12 years.
The pair were best buddies at Bede’s when Winnie, an 18-year-old student from Kabubbu, studied at the school on a three-year scholarship at Bede’s Senior School before returning to Kabubbu in 2010 to take up nursing studies.
Hannah’s visit was a secret because she wanted to give her friend a surprise.
Winnie knew nothing about it until Hannah, in her wheelchair, pulled up behind her and she turned round. With a shriek of surprise and delight from Winnie and tears of joy from Hannah they hugged.
Hannah’s visit came about after a brave fundraising effort where, despite her physical disability, she raised £2,500 for her visit and for Kabubbu by setting up and completing a specially designed sponsored Triathlon using mobility support equipment.
She cycled a total of five miles, walked one mile and swam 500 metres.
Hannah also took part in many volunteer activities.
These included three hour-long presentations on Overcoming Challenges to students at Kabubbu’s secondary school, Trust High, built by Quicken Trust.
Paul Endersby, a retired social worker from Hailsham accompanied Hannah at one of the presentations and was very impressed.
He said, “The students listened intently as they saw someone who would normally be shunned in Uganda because of her disabilities give a competent and inspirational talk.”
Quicken Trust has been working in Kabubbu for 12 years, helping to transform the lives of a village devastated by poverty, malaria and AIDS. Over that period, it has built a medical centre and two schools, helping hundreds of children get an education.
To support Quicken Trust’s work in Kabubbu visit www.quickentrust.com