Van Stolen, Aid Slowed
This year will be the eighth year that Mr. Abe has made the self-financed the trip to Uganda, his birthplace. Through his largely registered charity, Acoli Association, he has already
delivered 300 computers and 30,000 textbooks
(Has anyone seen Abeâ€™s missing van?)
Frank Okello Abe, 41, bought a Mercedes 308D Sprinter van for Â£1,000 on Monday (September 22, 2006) in preparation to pick up 50 old computers and 5,000 textbooks donated by Windsor Boys School and schools in East London.
He planned to drive the vehicle to Tilbury Docks, where it would be shipped to Mombassa. Mr. Abe, who works for Cliftons Solicitors, London, would then drive the van on to Northern Uganda and distribute the equipment to schools in the Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts.
But when he came out of his home in High Street, Langley, on Tuesday morning he found the vehicle had been stolen. Mr. Abe said: â€œIt was stolen - gone without a trace. The only evidence was the shattered glass. It left me stone cold.â€? This year will be the eighth year that Mr. Abe has made the self-financed the trip to Uganda, his birthplace. Through his largely registered charity, Acoli Association, he has already delivered 300 computers and 30,000 textbooks to schools in an area ravaged by the long-standing civil war.
Mr. Abe, who also teaches Business Studies at Windsor Boys said: â€œThe government has abandoned this part of the country. When schools in the UK change their curriculum the three to four year-old books they donâ€™t need are still very contemporary in Africa. â€œWhen I go to Uganda itâ€™s fantastic to deliver the equipment to schools that sometimes donâ€™t have a shred of paper. Thatâ€™s the incentive for me - itâ€™s the joy of making a difference to the lives of people out there.â€?
Mr. Abe fell victim to thieves six years ago, when his van, loaded with computers and textbooks, was stolen. After an appeal by local media, including the Observer, police managed to recover the stolen items within days. Mr. Abe said: â€œI did get a feeling of deja vu this time. Itâ€™s lucky that the equipment was not inside this time but Iâ€™m still left with no way to transport the equipment.
â€œIdeally I would like to get the van back but if someone can offer a van or facilitate the purchase of a van then Iâ€™ve got computers and books ready to go.â€? The license plate of the van reads N451EFA. If you have any information call the police on 0845 8505505.
(Reprinted from The Windsor ObserverÂ www.thisiswindsor.com)
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