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Scaling the heights to boost charity’s work with orphans
MICROSOFT business manager Craig Parker climbed the highest mountain in Africa for charity last year.
But rather than supporting a giant global organisation, he did it for a small charity based in Oxfordshire.
And he was so inspired by the good cause, that he has stepped up to the plate once more.
He gave everyone at Abingdon’s Nasio Trust, which runs two orphanages for more than 300 children in Kenya, a crash course in computing to help them streamline their operation.
The charity workers were trained on how to use databases and spreadsheets to better manage information about the orphans they look after.
Mr Parker, far right, atop the summit of Kilimanjaro
Mr Parker and two friends climbed 19,341-foot Kilimanjaro to raise money for Nasio in September, after Googling “climb Kilimanjaro for charity”.
After the climb, the trio decided to visit the two orphanages run by the trust in Western Kenya.
Mr Parker said: “It was an amazing experience and left me with an ambition to continue my work with this great charity.
“Having seen the work Nasio does, and working for Microsoft, I could see there was certainly some ways that technology could help improve the way they worked.
“This was specifically around the consistency of the data and collaboration between the UK and Africa.”
He got his managers’ permission to run a training day at Oxford’s Four Pillars Hotel, in Abingdon Road, to help bring modern technology to Nasio.
He and colleagues taught the charity’s staff the best ways to use computer software to help their operations.
They hope that, in time, this will enable Nasio to spend less time on their digital operation and more time with the children they help.
Mr Parker, who lives in Reading, also hopes that better use of technology will help ensure children get access to correct treatments and education through consistent information.
He added: “Microsoft does lots of charity work, but as teams we usually go and help charities through manual labour – painting, gardening and so on.
“This is about us really helping to transform the way that a charity uses technology to impact the lives of hundreds of children.”
Nasio began in 2000 when Kenyan Irene Mudenyo found an abandoned six-month old boy in her sugar cane plantation in Musanda, Western Kenya.
She took him in, named him Moses, cared for him and made exhaustive inquiries to find his parents.
Unable to find either of them, Ms Mudenyo, already in her late 70s and a grandmother herself, adopted him.
After her daughter Nancy Hunt moved to Abingdon, she helped set up a day care centre for children like Moses in the nearby town of Mumias. She has run the charity from Abingdon since then and it has grown every year.
Mrs Hunt said the charity had learnt a “huge” amount at its computer training day.
She said: “We were amazed to get this team of experts who wanted to help us.”
The Trust’s Abingdon base also runs a programme called Exit 7, which takes young people from the UK, often with behavioural difficulties, to help at the orphanages.
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