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Charity workers offer hope to destitute refugees in Dominican Republic
Family to sell up to aid Third World

A family is selling up to move halfway round the globe in an effort to offer Third World communities a better life.

Simon and Diana Redmile of Falcutt near Helmdon, will be taking their children Becky, eight and Michael, six, and flying out to the Dominican republic at the end of April to work as part of an international aid effort helping destitute Haitian refugees.

Mr Redmile explained: "Haiti is a country in a terrible state and a lot of its people come over the border into the Dominican Republic seeking a better life. But when they arrive they find it very difficult to get work so they end up labouring in the sugar cane fields and stuck in slums trying to scrape a living.

"These people are confined to an environment of total squalor with lots of diseases including TB, cholera, HIV and AIDS. We are going to be involved in building houses out there and helping them get back on their feet again and make a living."

Mr Redmile is giving up his job as management consultant while his wife is leaving Culworth Primary School, where she works as a classroom assistant.

The family will be working for Mission Direct, a UK-based Christian charity that provides practical support to Third World countries and has in the past 18 years helped build more than 600 houses in the Dominican Republic alone. The organisation also helps construct clinics, schools and orphanages in Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone.

Mr Redmile has been involved with Mission Direct for the past two years and the family made a trip to the Dominican Republic for a similar purpose in November 2003.

He said: "It's partly due to our faith and also the will to help others. It's all about building up communities and giving people hope for a better future.

"It makes a huge difference to them. People are just amazed you have come all that way to help them. In the Third World the cultures are different and it's about relationships. The fact that you have actually turned up and helped means so much to them.

"We are planning to go for a minimum of two years which makes it quite a big step - it will be an amazing experience for the whole family. The children are really excited about it and looking forward to going.

"It's a complete change of direction for us. It will be a challenge but it's great to think we will be helping change people's lives."

The family is holding a house sale on Saturday between 11am and 4pm to raise funds to help them set up home in the Dominican Republic. For more information call Mr Redmile on (01280) 850306.

The Banbury Guardian - 9th February 2006
 
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