THE people of Galloway have always had a reputation for being big-hearted and no story proves this more that Glentrool woman Morag McIlwraith’s work fundraising locally for the charity Children in Distress.
Children in Distress helps care for incurably and terminally ill children abandoned by parents and care professionals as beyond help in the Balkans. Morag, who raised £1,000 last year, recently returned from her second trip to orphanages in Romania where she saw how that money and the welcome donations of toys were being used to improve the lives of these unfortunate children.
Morag’s work for the charity is ongoing and a recent 60s night in Glentrool raised £100. The congregation of the Baptist Church in Wigtown also donate monthly to the cause.
Morag explains how she became involved with the charity, based in Glasgow.
She said: “Twelve of thirteen years ago Wigtown Baptist Church agreed to sponsor a child through Children in Distress. The first child we had was George, who only lived until he was four, then we had Camelia, we sponsored her for about 10 years until she died last year.
“This year I decided to go back to Romania to see how the children were getting on. When I let it be known that I was going I was presented with a cheque for £100 by a local lady and a bag of knitted toys to give to the children. Another local lady donated a bag of hats, gloves and scarves to be given to one of the orphanages to give out to street children.
“I felt this trip was very worthwhile as, not only did it let me see again how well the children were cared for, it let me see other projects which Children in Distress are involved in. For example, a school for autistic children and providing speech therapy and physiotherapy for local children as well as providing funding to allow the children to attend local schools.
“The children in the orphanages are all HIV, not because of their parents promiscuity, but because they were all given contaminated blood when they were in state run orphanages. These children are now young men and women, but because they are HIV positive no one will employ them, but Children in Distress is doing all it can to change the situation.
“It’s an uphill struggle but in the years I have been supporting them I have seen many changes for the better for these children.
“And with help from local people things can only get better.”
Children in Distress have also been trying to support the staff in these orphanages as Romania’s response to the global financial crisis has been to close hospitals, clinics and care services and make nurses and doctors redundant or simply leave them unpaid.
If you want to contribute to Children in Distress or learn more about the charity please contact Morag on 01671 840315.