Dance music fans will have the opportunity to transport themselves back to the halcyon days of the early 1990s with an old school rave night at the Norscot Angling Club next month to raise money for disadvantaged schoolchildren in Kenya.
All proceeds will go to the Ribban Children’s Trust, a small charity set up to help fund the rebuilding of two primary schools in the Rift Valley, a poverty-stricken area of Kenya which suffers from numerous social and health problems including HIV/AIDS.
The Ribot and Bandiat primary schools are in a remote farming community in the province and young children have to walk around 6km in bare feet to reach their school, live in overcrowded huts and are assigned domestic chores that affect their school work.
Bordering Uganda, the Rift Valley is one of the regions worst affected by violence and ethnic-related attacks which led to the deaths of around 1,300 people after president Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of a highly dubious presidential poll in December 2007. In order to stem the violence, Mr Kibaki was persuaded to form a coalition government with opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Organiser of the Lerwick event, “Ken Yeah”, Catherine Williams said: “After the recent political problems in Kenya, the area is suffering more than ever.
“Education is a crucial tool in rebuilding a community and providing a better future for the children. I’m sure most Shetlanders recognise how lucky we are to have such good schools and that Shetland children are growing up with numerous opportunities in a thriving community.”
Originally the Kenyan government paid the teachers on the condition that parents built the schools, but they are impoverished and so were only able to construct temporary mud buildings. By 2006 they were uninhabitable, with dirt floors, holes in the walls, leaking roofs and no windows or doors.
Some of the rebuilding work has now been carried out, providing windows, proper flooring and rain-proof roofs. The Ribban Trust – which has set up a committee in Kenya to oversee a local building firm carrying out the work – now wants to provide a nursery, library and outdoor facilities to equip the school with essential educational resources.
The trust says that despite the difficult conditions and a chronic shortage of books, the children are motivated to learn and achieve because they see education as a ticket out of the rural poverty they find themselves in.
The Ribban Trust has a committee based in Edinburgh and member Sarah Sieley, who is originally from the Rift Valley, travels there on a regular basis to visit family and to ensure that the work is being carried out satisfactorily.
“The money can be easily tracked and I am confident that all our efforts are worthwhile and the money is going to the right place,” Ms Williams said. “As it is a Kenyan company building the schools all the money is going to the community and it is giving them the opportunity to do things for themselves.”
She said there would be a variety of dance music from DJs Scott McCulloch, Keith Leslie and Nadia and she hopes it will be enough to bring some “old school ravers” out of hibernation for the night.
“I wanted to put a night on that would not only be a good laugh but raise as much money as possible for a really good cause. Literally every penny is going to the charity, as all the DJs are playing for free so I’d like to thank them for their support and everyone else that has helped me organise this event.”
The dance night takes place at the Norscot Angling Club on Saturday 1st August, with tickets priced at £5 and doors opening at 9pm. You can also make a direct donation to the cause by visiting the Ribban Trust’s website at www.ribban.co.uk