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Tractor Run 2018

On Sunday, May 27th a Tractor Run was held to raise funds for Mellon Educate, which is an Irish-based African development charity founded by developer and philanthropist, Niall Mellon, in 2002 and established as a charitable company in 2004. Thanks to the enormous collective effort of some 25,000 volunteers, in conjunction with the South African government, has built houses for 125,000 homeless people in South Africa’s poorest townships. This was only possible because ordinary people took selfless action to do something truly extraordinary, lend a helping hand on our annual “building blitz” in South Africa. In 2013 the charity redoubled its commitments to those less fortunate in Africa, pledging a 10-year education development programme to provide better education to more than 100,000 African children. In 2014, due to phenomenal demand and a willingness by the dedicated, loyal volunteers, Mellon Educate ran two building blitzes in the same year, one in the same township community where the charity first built homes in 2002, another to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, building not one but two schools in his Eastern Cape homelands on Mthatha, Qunu. 2015 was another landmark year where 260 volunteers put their hands to good work in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, safeguarding the education of 1,650 young boys and girls. Formerly they lived in dilapidated shacks and went to a school that was tumble-down and under-resourced. Now they have a solid roof over their heads and the foundations are set to support education that lasts a life-time. In 2016 270 volunteers returned to rebuild and renovate schools in the township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town. In just 7 days, they completed 13 new classrooms, 2 toilet blocks, 1 kitchen and renovated 7 other buildings. 2,700 collective school pupils and countless children to come will benefit from this lasting legacy. Every year the volunteers create new inspiring stories of possibility for children deprived of opportunity in their lives. The legacy of the work accomplished in those 7 days, the skilled labour and heavy lifting of long days, is literally a life achievement. Volunteers are the life-blood of the charity and we value each and every one greatly. A 7 day building blitz in South Africa is an arduous undertaking. It’s no holiday in the sun! What’s more, fundraising to travel and support the construction projects is a colossal challenge before even the volunteers set foot on African soil.
Local man, Gabriel McAree, has been a volunteer with the Mellon Foundation on a number of occasions and his daughter, Emma, joined him on one of his Building Blitzes. He heads out again in 2018 as part of the Mellon Educate and no doubt he and the other volunteers will work wonders and provide a future for thousands of children. The Tractor Run was an event to help raise the funds required to purchase the raw materials for the work involved. The Run began at Landers In Dernashallog and there was a great atmosphere of friendship as the tractor drivers stood about chatting a having tea/coffee before the start. The cavalcade then set off on its journey up the Line, down past Edenmore and on to Tydavnet and then to Scotstown and hence back to base where a Barbeque awaited and more chat and camaraderie. The weather was ideal and the event enjoyable for all.