Local Law Firm Sends Staff On Humanitarian Convoy
This September, 2 members of law firm Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors will travel nearly 4,000 miles delivering aid to include toys, clothes and equipment to help thousands of abandoned children by taking part in an aid convoy to Bulgaria. After last year’s successful convoy, whereby £250,000 worth of relief was taken to local orphanages and care homes, the mission is aiming to take as much as their 10 trucks will hold. This year the firm is waving off first timer Sean Innes, and a more experienced convoy driver Amanda Davis, who has already travelled with convoys to Moldova and Ukraine.
Amanda, who lives in Surrey and Sean from York are following in the footsteps of Simpson Millar’s managing partner Peter Watson, who took part last year. Taking part in the 20-person convoy that will provide relief to over-crowded, under funded care homes in Bulgaria.
Organised by the Communication Workers Union Humanitarian Aid (CWUHA) charity, the annual 10 vehicle convoy will deliver goods such as clothing, toiletries, medical equipment and toys directly to Bulgarian orphanages. The vehicles are loaned to the cause for free from Parcelforce, Royal Mail and BT.
Convoy veteran Amanda, office manager and secretary in the firm’s Wimbledon office, is looking forward to what will be her 3rd convoy mission in 4 years. She said: "I went to Moldova in 2005 and Ukraine in 2006, but even though I am aware of all of the physical and emotional challenges that are inevitable on a trip such as this, I don't really think you can completely prepare for it."
Joining her from the Simpson Millar office in Leeds is IT Technician, Sean Innes who has passed his LGV license in preparation for the trip: "This is my 1st convoy mission and for me it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I'm apprehensive about the emotional demands of the convoy, but I can't wait to see the children and bring them the things they so desperately need."
There are 50,000 children currently living in care homes in Bulgaria, with 35,000 of these physically and/or mentally handicapped. The financial aid the orphanages receive in state budgets is low and barely covers their basic food and clothing needs.
Almost 2% of Kula's children are in care, and unfortunately many parents regularly abandon their children if they feel unable to care for them. Having already helped 2 convoys deliver over £500,000 of aid to the poorest areas of Eastern Europe, Amanda's memories of her previous trips are what keep her returning: "My previous journeys have opened my eyes to the reality of life for those less fortunate, and taking part helps me gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the people we visit."
20 year old Sean added: "The CWUHA convoy is such a worthwhile cause and by taking the aid there ourselves, we ensure that everything we bring goes directly to the children who need it. I hope to carry on the fantastic work that the CWUHA have undertaken for the past 14 years."
"Despite the psychologically draining aspects of the trip, the joy and satisfaction you get from seeing the children's faces on arrival with the convoy makes it all worthwhile. It truly is an amazing and life changing experience," Amanda concluded.
Having taken part last year, Peter Watson plans to fly to the Bulgarian capital, Sofia to meet the convoy when they arrive and help deliver the aid in person.
"I wish Amanda and Sean the very best for their upcoming convoy experience and would like to encourage everyone to support their fundraising efforts. What they will soon embark on will be a very emotional experience – one which puts the way we see things in an entirely new context," Peter said.
Sean and Amanda will be travelling to Kula in the North West of Bulgaria on Friday 4 September, returning to the UK on the 19th.
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