'We go for the people': St. Marys couple dedicates life to helping poverty-stricken families in Africa
A St. Marys couple has spent the last two decades going to Africa to help families living in poverty.
Alec and Janet Lockyer started their humanitarian efforts 22 years ago.
“We lived in a mud hut village for two and half years, and that was our beginning,” said Janet.
They started by opening up a clinic to treat those suffering from malnutrition, scurvy, and bronchitis.
“Children would cough, constant mucus, runny noses and eye infections and so on. And I said, we need to do something about this,” said Janet.
The couple said within the first afternoon of opening up the clinic, more than 130 people from several different villages travelled to their clinic for treatment.
Janet, a former nurse, would help with medical needs, while Alec would teach families how to build shelters.
“The cry of the Africans is not what are you going to give me, but what can you teach me,” said Janet.
“So it’s teaching them how to be self-sufficient. Nobody can study and learn if they are hungry, naked, or they’re living on the street. Those are three basics of life that have to be covered, in order for young people to be educated.”
Since then, the couple has been travelling back and forth between Canada and Africa.
They’ve dedicated their lives to supporting African children, by helping pay for them to go to school and supplying needs.
Their efforts are going a long way.
One woman whose education they paid for – from elementary, to high school to university – has since gone on to become a top pharmacist, in what Janet said, is the most modern and well-equipped hospital in all of East Africa.
When the Lockyers aren’t in Africa, the retired couple is helping from home.
They use their pension and pick up odd jobs around town, like delivering the local newspaper, to help fund their mission.
“There have been times when we've sent half our months pension to fill the needs out there,” said Janet.
The couple hasn’t been to Africa since the start of the pandemic, but are planning to go back in December.
They said they will continue to help for as long as they can.
“We will go as long as we are able. It doesn’t matter if we’re 95, if we are still able, we will still go.”
“Because we don’t go for us, we go for the people,” said Janet.
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