June Martin's statement: June Martin was born in Leeds and educated at Crossgates Secondary School. After a year’s clerical work, being a member of Friends of the Earth she was keen to work on environmental issues and became a Community Service Volunteer working at the Futures Studies Centre in Hyde Park, Leeds. There she became involved with the anti-nuclear movement and developed an interest in organic farming, conservation and alternative technology. In 1981 she formed Harehills peace group. By 1990 June had studied herbal medicine, homeopathy, meditation and philosophy and also gained qualifications in counselling, and aromatherapy massage.
In 1995 she met and became close friends with Jennifer Mussakanya and in 1999 June moved with her family to Denholme Bradford.
When in 2002 there was a terrible drought in Zambia, Jenny’s parents were in danger of starvation, so June began to raise money for famine relief, which was sent through the church in Mpika. As more people became involved this developed into Mpika Relief Fund which gained charitable status in 2004 when a small shop was opened in Denholme.
In 2005 Jenny, June and her twin daughters travelled to Zambia where they purchased the present building and land that was to become Mpika Village of Hope Orphanage and Peniel School. Jenny remained in Zambia and is the director of the project there. June remained in England and has continued to raise funds and expand the charity to the present day. She is presently writing a book to be published in 2016.
Tina Watkin's statement: I’ve lived in Denholme 38 years meeting June Martin 11 years ago. I wrote the Denholme news column for the T&A. June asked me if I would be interested in joining her setting up a charity shop supporting orphans in Zambia. Wonderful idea I thought, being a charity shop ‘follower’. “Will you be a Trustee?” “Will I loose my house?” I said. “NO!” “Well OK”. I was hooked and able to advertise events in the T&A publicity machine.
I’ve leafleted Denholme with her and delivered newsletters occasionally. I dare not work the shop too often, ‘cause I’d buy everything, so I organise money sent to Africa, keep my eye on the gift aid, collect goods from friends far and wide and occasionally get involved in office work I’m 72 this April and still have four voluntary jobs, one of which is presenter on BCB radio 106.6fm, where I’m able to offer LIVE air time to June and Co to promote Mpika Relief.
I support 9 year old Marianna and hope to visit her perhaps next year. For my 70th birthday, I asked friends for donations instead of gifts and raised £750 for our orphanage fund. Being a volunteer is purposeful and rewarding; join us and give it a try.
Shirley Crowther's statement: I first became involved in the Mpika Village of Hope in 2010 when I started dropping in to the Denholme store on my way to visit my parents. It is impossible to call in without becoming aware of the incredible love that June and the gang have for the children.
As I was a primary school teacher at that time, I also have a great deal of affection for young children, especially if they are vulnerable. One thing led to another and when June visited the orphanage in 2011 I wished that I had gone when I saw the photos on her return. When my mother died I was left some money and immediately thought that she would have loved for me to use it to go to Africa and meet these children and, of course, Jenny.
In 2012 I visited Mpika in Zambia to meet the children in the Village of Hope orphanage, a charity very dear to my heart. I sponsor John Sinkala, one of the children who lives there; he is the same age as our grandson Ira. It was the most wonderful experience which I will never forget. I now use the photos I took at Mpika to present awareness talks to groups of interested people.
My mission is that everyone should know about the great work that is happening at our wonderful orphanage in Zambia.