Joanne Heath with Byron Bay Golf Club manager Peter Swaby and the operator of The Deck at Byron, Matt Wilson.
Joanne Heath with Byron Bay Golf Club manager Peter Swaby and the operator of The Deck at Byron, Matt Wilson.

Dinner will help orphanage

A trip to Uganda two years ago to help a friend at an orphanage just outside the capital of Kampala opened Joanne Heath’s eyes to the daily misery of the 39 children living there.


Joanne said it was apparent the orphanage had never been registered, was mismanaged and under-funded.

Donated money meant to help the children was being diverted elsewhere.


She said it was heartbreaking to see that the children, who had endured so much in their short lives, didn’t have enough food or a bed to sleep in.


They were all sleeping on the floor in a small house. Diarrhoea, fever and scabies were common, she said.


After returning to Australia at the end of 2008 and learning the situation at the orphanage had deteriorated, Joanne turned to the Hervey Bay-based Forget Me Not Children’s Home charitable organisation for help. It is through this organisation that she is organising an ‘Orphans in Crisis African Gala Dinner’ at The Deck at Byron at the Byron Bay Golf Club on Saturday, October 9.


MC for the night will be actor and comedian Rhys Muldoon, and the entertainment will include traditional African music drumming and Sydney DJ Shimon. There also will be a silent auction of items and services donated locally, and a major raffle.


Tickets are $140 each and Joanne said a minimum of $60 from each ticket will be going to help the 39 orphans, but it could be more depending on how much was raised by the silent auction and raffle. She said the immediate aim was to get the 39 children out of what was a ‘crisis’ situation by providing food, clothing, proper shelter, medical care and education.


Tickets for the dinner are available at The Deck at Byron, Byron Shire News office in Jonson Street, Byron Bay, and Ho’okupu Surf and Art Gallery in Lawson Street, Byron Bay.


People who want to make a donation for the silent auction can call Joanne on 0466 604 154.


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