MOP meets Irish benefactors

2015-05-20 06:00
Gemma and Eddie Dillon.

Gemma and Eddie Dillon.

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ONCE a year, Mother of Peace is visited by its Irish benefactors, Eddie and Gemma Dillon.

The Dillonand#039;s first heard about MOP in 2005 through another NGO which was in need of bed linen and furniture.

“We had an apartment in Umhlanga and I said I could deliver. They gave us three or four addresses and one of them was for Mother of Peace,” Eddie recalls.

“When we got here we met a lovely lady. We said we had some beds and off-loaded them. She thanked us and invited us for tea. She then told us the story of how the orphanage came about. We said we would like to help out. I gave her R1 000 and she burst into tears and said ‘that is the exact amount of money I was short to pay the housekeeper’,” Eddie said.

They drove back to Umhlanga in shock and did not speak. “We then phoned some of our friends and they opened their hands. The next thing, we were getting support from everywhere,” Eddie said.

Their only requirement was that the money donated was not used to pay wages and that the organisation should use volunteers.

The group’s first project was to fund a bus to the value of R23 000, and Irish nurses contributed to an infirmary. The couple then got Irish builders to volunteer to build new houses. They fundraised for the houses and Eddie subsequently became the treasurer for MOP.

“The books are open for anyone to see. I was amazed. We started with 600 euros and we are now close to 3 000 euros. The money is for the children­’s upbringing. Builders make their way to MOP at their own expense and come out every year to do maintenance and repairs,” Eddie said.

They have also built a chapel on the premises.

“Every year we do a sponsored walk in Ireland for fundraising and started our own ‘Strictly Come Dancing’-type show, where prizes are awarded. It works so well that many other charities have copied the idea. Then we started a model show and even Eddie made a turn on the catwalk,” Gemma said.

The group of Irish benefactors have also set up a Trust for education and the pupils can apply if they can prove they have a good opportunity of succeeding

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