From street to green
Forty young people who were previously living in poverty on the streets of Mombasa have been given new lives working as caddies at the new Vipingo Ridge Golf Resort. The caddies have been trained by the charity, in association with the European Tour Caddies Association. They have learned the rules of golf and the principles of caddying and are now ready to begin their new careers.
Recently the caddies were presented with their certificates and new uniforms by Cliff Ferguson, the founder of Glad’s House. The charity works with street children in Mombasa, providing them with education, training and employment opportunities.
Also attending the event were Brian McConnell, Mike Boddy and Jorge Gamara caddies from the European Tour Caddies Association who can more usually be found on the fairways of the European Tour working with some of golf’s world class players such as Angel Cabrera, Ricard Gonzales, Francesco Molinari, Gary Nicklaus, Phil Golding and Darren Clarke. They have been teaching the young people the principles of golf and caddying and giving them an insight into the life of a professional tour caddy.
Many of the newly-qualified caddies – 36 boys and four girls - live with locally, some with foster families and can look forward to long careers in golf and an independent and secure future.
Cliff Ferguson, Founder of Glad’s House, says, “It is difficult to imagine the life that these youngsters have endured up to now. Living on the streets with no families, no homes and no support system, they would otherwise be facing a life of petty crime or much, much worse.
“With this great opportunity which Vipingo Ridge Golf Club has given them, we can equip them with the skills they need for an independent, self-sufficient life. We are extremely grateful to the European Tour Caddies Association and the Tour Players’ Foundation for helping us change the lives of these amazing young people”.
Vipingo Ridge officially opened its first 18 hole course in August 2009 and is intended to become one of East Africa’s most desirable golf clubs. The development, one of the largest to be undertaken in the country for many years, will consist of two 18-hole championship courses, designed by David Jones, who is a member of The European Tour Board of Directors.
Mark Roe, Chairman of the Tour Players’ Foundation, said: “This is an exciting project for the Tour Players’ Foundation to be involved in. Glad’s House is doing some great work for the street children of Mombasa and this project allows the young people to make great steps towards a better future and is certainly worthy of our support.”
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