Charity founder overwhelmed after Stevenage businesses and anonymous donor stump up £5,000 for Kenya cause

Just Be A Child founder Lenka McAlinden has had to pinch herself after £5,000 was donated to the cau

Just Be A Child founder Lenka McAlinden has had to pinch herself after £5,000 was donated to the cause. - Credit: Archant

An appeal to raise £5,000 for a children’s charity after promised funding to help needy youngsters in Africa was withdrawn has been successful.

In just two weeks since the Comet ran an appeal for help, the £5,000 needed by Just Be A Child to establish a library in Kenya has been raised.

The charity was founded in 2013 by Lenka McAlinden, who lives in The Lindens in Stevenage, following a trip to Kenya which inspired the 39-year-old to try to make a difference.

Just Be a Child aims to support children living in the country through various projects, including building playgrounds, providing toys and sports equipment, and building libraries.

Lenka wanted to send 7,500 donated books and other resources to Ukunda, and use the container as a library once it reached the town.

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But efforts to raise the £10,000 needed to complete the project were halted when a generous individual offered to fund the project.

Lenka used the £5,000 already raised to pay for the container and transport to Kenya but, with the container already en route, the individual withdrew his support.

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Another £5,000 was still needed to pay for transport in Kenya, additional duty once at port, and to transform the container into a library.

Following an appeal for help, Lenka said: “We have been extremely fortunate to be introduced to two amazing people – Joanne Smith from The Consulting Consortium and Robert Stewart from Stevenage Packaging Limited.

“Between them they have donated £4,000, which means our container is going to leave the port of Mombasa, arrive in Ukunda, and be transformed into the most amazing library you have ever seen.”

An anonymous Stevenage businessman has also donated £1,000.

Lenka said: “I cannot thank them enough for their generosity. The article in the Comet reached out and touched many people and the donations trickled in slowly but steadily.

“On top of these amazing donations – I have to pinch myself every now and again to make sure I wasn’t just dreaming – the Southampton contingent of Just Be A Child has raised £443.

“We will continue with our fundraising efforts because there is so much more we can do. We are planning a pub quiz, school coin challenge and fancy dress party, all in the next three months.

“Thank you all for the amazing support.”

For more information about the charity, visit

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