A CARING aid worker is appealing for help to become Father Christmas and deliver the festivities to under-privileged youngsters in Africa for a second time.
John St Julien helped almost 100 youngsters in Tanzania to experience the magic of Christmas for the first time last year thanks to a major fundraising drive.
And he is hoping to help even more children this year with readers’ support.
The 29-year-old, from Blackhall, is the manager of an aid project called Village to Village in Uchira where children live in one room huts without electricity or water.
But through the charity’s work, locals benefit from improvements to their agriculture, learning English and education about HIV and AIDS.
John said: “Truly my favourite time of the year in the UK was and is Christmas time.
“The build up, the adverts that make your hearts melt, the over the top planning for one day that’s gone in a blink and that extra feeling of love that just seems to be around in December.
“Here though, things are very different. Last year a boy told me he liked Christmas as he got to eat rice as it is sweeter than the maize flour he eats every day for every meal.
“The concept of a gift for no reason was lost on a great many people.”
John, who went to Hartlepool College of Further Education, was inspired to bring Christmas to the village, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, last year after seeing children make toys out of rubbish in the street.
It was a huge success with John taking five suitcases filled with toys, books, clothing, stationary and learning aids donated by people back to Tanzania.
John, who used to work in advertising at the Mail, added: “With the huge success of Uchira’s first Christmas in 2013 I am very keen and excited at the prospect that this year’s could be even bigger and dare I say better.”
Other items on John’s wish list include anything solar-powered or clock work.
How you can help:
l Donate directly online at www.virginmoneygiving.com/Uchirachildrensfund
l Post items to Gail and David St Julien, 19 Hepscott Avenue, Blackhall, TS27 4HP
l Visit www.facebook.com/sharetanzania
l Individual fundraising activities for the Uchira Children Fund supported by the UK based Maendeleo Trust 1140669. Run any ideas past John by emailing him at ChristmasProject@Village-to-Village.org.uk.