courier heading to Tanzania
New Zealand Press
Association (NZPA), December 23, 2008
Auckland bike courier Jolene O'Connor is hoping for something a bit
different for Christmas this year.
No flash gifts -- what she really wants is to reach her $11,500
fundraising target before the New Year when she heads off to Tanzania
to volunteer for eight months with charitable organisation Students
Partnership Worldwide (SPW).
Ms O'Connor, 27, will live in a rural community where there is likely
to be no electricity or running water. She will work with a school to
implement a youth and health programme, dealing with issues such as
teenage pregnancy, early marriages, HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse
and child abuse.
She needs $11,500 to cover the cost of her trip, training, health
insurance, as well as support for SPW and the programmes it runs
"The money raised will be used directly to support my work and projects
in the village. The more money raised, the more can be done to help
rural communities to live instead of just existing," she said.
As well as setting up a fundraising website,
www.fundraiseonline.com.au/joleneoconnor, she has already raised $8000
through a garage sale and an auction of celebrity prizes fetched $1700
on TradeMe last week.
While out cycling she collected prizes by asking strangers if they
happened to know anyone famous.
Donated items include a signed All Blacks rugby ball, an original
sketch from the bro'Town animators, a vest signed by Olympic gold medal
sailor Tom Ashley, a cycling jersey signed by the New Zealand men's
pursuit team who won bronze at the Beijing Olympics and a rugby league
jersey signed by the Kiwis.
But despite her fundraising success, Ms O'Connor still needs to boost
her funds by $3000 before she leaves New Zealand for Tanzania in early
She headed to Melbourne last week for a training course, where she
learnt about life in Tanzania, including the basics of the Swahili
Originally from South Africa , Ms O'Connor has seen the problems which
exist there and in many parts of Africa.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has left behind some 12 million orphaned African
children. "I want to go to Tanzania and prevent this from happening to
more children... it is tragic and I believe we were put on this earth
to help one another," she said.