Darren helps charity build on its success

Darren Cocker (left) and Paul McDonald are pictured during an earlier build in Africa. Darren has managed on-site contruction for Aberdeen-based GEF for the last two years.
Darren Cocker (left) and Paul McDonald are pictured during an earlier build in Africa. Darren has managed on-site contruction for Aberdeen-based GEF for the last two years.

A big-hearted North east builder will be taking his skills to Africa later this year when he will swap an Aberdeen building site for one in Kenya.

Darren Cocker, site manager at Bancon Homes’ Eden at Maidencraig development, will oversee the building of homes for underprivileged children and families as part of the Gathimba Edwards Foundation’s (GEF) annual charity build.

Aberdeen-based, the charity aims to improve the lives of deprived Kenyan families and orphans and Darren, who has volunteered to manage on-site construction for the last two years, has been asked to take the role of project manager. This year’s build will take place in Katarina, one hour from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi. Volunteers have built six houses and a 16-bed dormitory between 2015 and 2016, and have completed a total of 17 houses for 66 children since becoming a foundation in 2014.

The eight-day programme in October will comprise two semi-detached properties that will create four homes, two of which will provide separate accommodation for older boys.

Darren said: “One of the best parts of volunteering with GEF is working with people from all walks of life. However, as they are not all from the construction industry, it’s my responsibility to teach them basic building techniques.

“It can also be a challenge working with the Kenyan culture as they have a rather relaxed attitude towards schedules. We constantly have to chase people for materials to ensure the construction process moves forward.”

Last year Darren met eight-year old Faith, who moved into one of the new homes with her brother, sister, cousins and aunt who looks after them. Faith lost both parents due to illness and in January Darren and his partner Sarah, who live in Montrose, decided to sponsor her by paying for her school fees.

Darren fund-raises for the charity throughout the year and he has organised an event at Montrose Royal British Legion on September 2. In addition to raising awareness of the charity, the goal is to raise £2,000 to cover the cost of one of the homes. Further details can be found at www.gathimbaedwardsfoundation.org