Sunday, March 06, 2005


Melanie Kutek’s creative mind is programmed to help those in need. And her work has given her a new perspective on life. In fact, when she is not busy helping to resettle the growing number of African refugees in her home state of South Australia, she is doing voluntary work in Kenya; teaching and working with street kids - giving them an opportunity for a new life.

“I was volunteering as a teacher at a primary school in Ruiru (just north of Nairobi) in Kenya and also did voluntary work at a Rehabilitation Centre for street children”, Melanie said, with a broad smile. (she is affectionately referred to as Mel.)

“But every weekend, and whenever I had some spare time, I would go and meet the Sudanese families in Buru Buru and Komarock (refugee camps)”.

Mel’s humanitarian impulse knows no bounds. Come to think of it, she has taken cross-cultural communication and creative exchange onto a whole new level. And the sky is the limit!

Soon after returning from Kenya a few days ago, it became exceedingly clear that, at the tender age of 21, Mel has enough charitable projects in mind to last a lifetime.

Thus, “through some organizations in Adelaide, Kiwanis and WEF”, she has managed to achieve what others can only dream of. “I have managed to sponsor about 9 Sudanese children to attend primary school in Kenya”, she revealed.

The sponsorship covers such things as uniforms, shoes, exercise books, desks, living allowances and administrative fees. Yet, in a very special way, Mel is still trying to do more to help a growing number of other children in similar positions of need - a cause dear to her heart.

“While I was there (in Kenya), I also started a charitable organization, an NGO, which I have called Panhom. Our mission is to work towards education for all Southern Sudanese children”, she said.

“We will be starting with a school and a teacher training centre in the area of Aweil. And then as we get more funding, we hope to extend the project to cover the whole of Southern Sudan”. This is one of Mel’s biggest accomplishments.

Indeed, Mel is, undoubtedly, a very special kind of girl. And her spirit of generosity is immense. She is passionate about peace and freedom; always thinking about the plight of the poor, the refugees and the orphans; and, of course, the fate of the sick and the homeless.

Mel’s star is rising. And helping others to help themselves has become her lifetime commitment. She is a girl on a mission, with hope and charity running through her veins.
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