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  I met the brothers I help sponsor
Updated 05 July 2002, 09.07
Duncan with Bongani and Khumbalani outside their school
Duncan went to South Africa to take a look at the squatter camps near Johannesburg.

And he's helping to raise money to improve the lives of children there.

Fact File
What is a squatter camp?
They are settlements with shacks made of wood, cardboard, tin and other scrap material
Whole families live in a single shack, the size of a garden shed
Open fires are used for cooking and candles for light - shacks often catch fire when there are accidents
There is no running water, sewerage pipes, gas or electricity

A couple of years ago I became aware of the awful situation facing children in the squatter camps of Johannesburg.

I have been sponsoring two brothers in the Joe Slovo camp and becoming increasingly involved in the work of the charity "Children of Fire International".

Raising money

With the help of friends at my previous school, Millfields in Wivenhoe, and my current school, Colchester Royal Grammar I have raised several hundred pounds which has been used to help treat children who have been burned in the squatter camp fires.

No uniforms

Map showing Johannesburg
All the children in the camps are entitled to an education but many are excluded from school because they do not have a uniform, equipment or even shoes.

The brothers I sponsor have missed so much school that although they are 13 and 16-years-old they are still in primary school.

In between all the press attention I got I did manage to spend some time playing with the brothers and the following day we took then to a local park.

Best ever

I got on really well with them and I hope we will be able to stay friends despite the distance between us.

Duncan outside Bongani and Khumbalani's shack
Duncan outside Bongani and Khumbalani's shack
My trip to South Africa was my best holiday ever.

I made lots of new friends and really enjoyed myself.

And I will be putting together a presentation about my trip and using it to raise awareness of the issues and hopefully more funding for charity projects."

Duncan, 12, Wivenhoe

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