Hampshire firefighter helps African school children

Hampshire firefighter helps African school children

Fundraiser uses skills to help kids in Kenya build swings and improve school
07 July 2016

A firefighter has been using her rope skills and fitness to improve the lives of school children in Kenya.

Nikki Bridges, from Lyndhurst Fire Station, in Hampshire, who worked as a volunteer for The African Adventure Foundation, helped raise £8,600 with five other climbers.

She also said the children loved hearing her stories about the fire service and seeing photographs of the engines.

Firefighter Bridges, who is 32, was in the African country for 16 days and spent time at The Jubilee Academy School helping with renovation and improvement work.

She then spent five days battling bad weather to reach the summit of Point Lenana, Mount Kenya - where she met the Saracens Rugby Team carrying their European Cup.

She said:

“It was an emotional rollercoaster, it’s overwhelming to see how happy the children are to have you there, but heartbreaking to see how little they have.  

“I won’t forget Donation Day when we gave the children clothes, books and skipping ropes amongst other things – a simple thing like a pencil each brought so many big smiles.

“I thought going to Africa was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but now I am feeling drawn to go back.

“Maybe it’s the bond I made with the children or the uplifting achievement of knowing that I’ve helped just a little to make a few lives better.

“I think that being a firefighter helped as you are used to dealing with challenging situations and I used rope skills to help make swings.

"The mountain climb was hard going and a little bit hazardous but again I think the job and experience in dealing with risk was of benefit."

She is now hoping to get a team of 20 from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to take on the 2017 Mount Kenya Challenge to raise money for The Firefighters Charity and The African Adventure Foundation.

Firefighter helps school
Kids play in new swing