Saturday, 1 March 2008



Last Friday, the Action With Effect charity shop in Carndonagh, closed after successfully raising over €8700 for Indian charities. The Independent spoke to Catherine White about her efforts to raise money for the organisation, which provides humanitarian aid to lepers, orphans and destitute children.

“I became involved with the charity after taking part in a historical fundraising walk around Carndonagh,” Catherine explains. “I had been talking to Anthony Conaghan from Carndonagh on the walk, who is involved in Action With Effect. Later I met Eamon Melaugh from Derry, who invited me to visit India in September 2006 to volunteer with the work that is being supported over there,” she tells us. “The project works in three areas north of Delhi; Derhadun, Hardwar and Rishakesh, where there is great work being done and of course, loads more to do,” she continues.

Action With Effect works with the very poorest and most destitute people, including lepers and children. Lepers are considered untouchable and are outcasts. They are physically unable to work and even if they could no one would employ them. Their only means of support is begging and they live in degrading misery in conditions of abject squalor where they face a bleak future of shame and humiliation. Millions of destitute children never go to school and face a distressing future of stunted social and economic deprivation.


Action With Effect has so far build over 50 houses for lepers, as well as 12 schools for impoverished kids. So far they are putting 2000 children through education, which is the way for a child to break out of the poverty cycle. An orphanage has been built as well as a hospice to provide more humane conditions for lepers.

Having seen the conditions that people are living in first hand, Catherine is only too happy to put in a bit of graft to raise money for the charity. “The children have such terrible lives,” she tells us passionately. “Some of them are no better than slaves and have been sold into bonded labour and expected to work 15/16 hours a day in exhausting physical work such as breaking rocks. The charity rescues as many children as possible, but of course they need money. They are completely reliant on the generosity of people here in Inishowen and Derry. They receive no other funding from anywhere and every penny raised goes straight to those that need it,” she continues.

So what made her decide to run a shop? “Well, I got the idea of running a charity shop from Mary McCallion from the IRDL who had successfully raised money for breast cancer before Christmas.” Catherine informs me. “I was able to take the shop over with all the fittings intact which was great. It has been very successful and I have been overwhelmed by the level of support I have had. Inishowen people are so generous, visiting the shop often and making donations. It was also great fun, meeting people and having the craic,” she smiles. “I am absolutely delighted to have raised this money to send out to India. I know it makes such a difference” she concludes.

For more information about the work of Action With Effect or to make a donation call 048 71364029 or e-mail action with effect

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