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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.

No child should have to fight for a drink of water at school.

But that’s exactly what five-year-old Yonatal and his classmates had to do in Ethiopia.

Their school did not have any running water and students would fight to get what little water was available at the only water container on the grounds.

Yonatal often had to walk home during schools hours if he was thirsty. At other times, the water available at school was so dirty it made him Yonatal ill, which meant he missed class as a result.

“Yonatal was affected by diarrheal diseases frequently from the unsafe water he used to drink at his school,” his mother, Simegne, says.

When Yonatal’s ChildFund sponsor heard about the situation he agreed to support the construction of a water line that would bring safe water to the school.

As part of the project, the school was connected to the closest water point. A washing station with several faucets was built, so that children could wash their hands and avoid sicknesses.