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Dance school steps up to help children in Zambia

A dance school in NSW is helping to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children, one step at a time.  

For more than a decade, students at Sloan’s Dance Academy in Cessnock, about two hours north of Sydney,  have been raising funds for a small preschool in rural Zambia.

Kelly Egan, the owner and director of Sloan’s Dance Academy and long-time ChildFund Australia supporter,  started the fundraiser – a raffle held at the dance school’s annual concert – 11 years ago.  

“Being able to give to people in need is the most amazing feeling,” Kelly says. “It gives our dance school and myself so much joy knowing we are making a difference.”

Every year at the concert, the proceeds from the sale of program pamphlets and the raffle are donated to the preschool in Zambia to help provide essential and equipment and resources. Over the years, the preschool was renamed the Kelly Egan Early Childhood Education Centre because of the ongoing support of Kelly and her dance academy.

How sponsorship is helping hundreds of preschool children

Kelly first discovered the preschool in 2008 when she travelled to Zambia to meet her sponsored child Auleria, whom she has been supporting through ChildFund for 14 years.

For more than a decade Kelly and her dance academy have been raising funds to support the preschool in rural Zambia.

She never thought the trip would lead to more than a decade of helping hundreds of preschool children as well. Her initial intention, says Kelly, was to simply form a connection with Auleria and her family, and see ChildFund Zambia’s work in action.

“I knew the face-to-face visit would be life-changing for both my family and Auleria’s family,” Kelly says.

“Our visit gave so much joy to not only Auleria but her whole village. It also brought so much joy to my family. It was a great experience for my daughter to see that we should not take our lives for granted in Australia.

“The visit also gave me a first-hand insight to how ChildFund works and how we could further assist.”

As part of her trip, Kelly and her family visited a small preschool – which later became the Kelly Egan Early Childhood Education Centre – in Auleria’s community. Kelly remembers an empty room and children sitting on the floor. “There was one chalkboard and no tables or chairs,” Kelly says. “There was a separate office for the principal and with a large desk, and on the wall were green cardboard sheets taped together that listed the children that were sponsored by ChildFund.”

Every year students at Sloan’s Dance Academy organise a raffle at their annual concert to raise funds for the preschool in Zambia.

It was only after her sponsor visit to Zambia, says Kelly, that it became clear that education was the only way to break the cycle of poverty within disadvantaged communities.

“For us the amount of money raised at our annual concert is not grand but transferred to Zambian kwacha it is a substantial amount,” Kelly says. “This money has enabled the preschool in Zambia to have tables and chairs, fix rundown parts of the building, and buy teaching resources and other items to help in the education of Zambian children.

“All children deserve the bare necessities to survive in this world and it is heartbreaking to think that not every child has this.

“If you can manage to find that little bit extra to give to ChildFund each month please do so as what seems so little to us can offer so much hope to those in a developing community.”

Kelly (in the middle) with her family visiting Auleria (dressed in yellow) and her family in 2008.

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