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Saturday, 27 April 2019 01:54 am

Young Warkina finding his roots and making a difference in Africa

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Warkina Tujuba

WARKINA Tujuba wants to give back to Africa and trace his roots, after 11 years living in New Zealand.

“I’ve been blessed because I live in a house with a roof, water and electricity and everything compared to those around the world who don’t have everything,” said Strathmore 17-year-old.

In 2002 alongside his single mother and two brothers, he made the journey from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to New Zealand, a place where he now calls home.

Warkina was registering to go to Otago University, but a talk about his future with his mum influenced his decision to ditch University for now.

“I had a huge talk with my mother about the purpose of what I want to study.”

“She said how what I do in the coming years will structure me as the man I become and that really got to me,” he said.

“I could’ve gone to university now and done a course, but I want to know where I came from, where I started, where my parents lived and where my dad lived.”

Warkina is fundraising to go back to Africa and find his place of birth and at the same time to do some charity work.

“The main purpose for me going on this volunteer venture is to help those less fortunate than myself.”

“I came here when I was five, so I want to go and see where I came from, and then go to University.”

Warkina’s father died when he was young, so he wants to learn about his father’s past.

“I will visit the place where I was born, the place where I lived in in the first five years of my life,I

will walk on the path my father walked in to get water.”

FOUR DIRECTION Warkina will visit Ethiopia before heading to Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. IMAGE Africa World

FOUR-DIRECTION: Warkina will visit Ethiopia before heading to Kenya Tanzania and South Africa. IMAGE: Africa World

In July, he will travel to Kenya, where he will do voluntary work in an orphanage home for a month, helping kids to be the kids they could be.

“I will help in any means possible with children without families, fully understanding the importance of family and also experiencing the loss of my father at a young age I may have some helpful tips to share with the orphans.”

In August Warkina heads to Tanzania to become a teacher aid, teaching basic English to young children.

Following Tanzania, in September Warkina will move to South Africa, for a month as a sport developer, coaching kids sports and helping them to forget the hardship they are going through and just be kids.

“I wish to gain an immense sense of appreciation for what I have before me while in the process

understanding the struggles my mother and those in Africa went and still go through.”

Michelle Duffy, teacher at St Patrick’s College Wellington has worked with Warkina since he was year nine and said it’s been a huge change for the once typical kid.

“I watched him grow from a typical junior to a prefect in year 13, he has lots of pride in his family and he wanted to give back.”

“He learnt to make good decisions in a catholic college that believes in social justice,” she said.

Jackie Hatchwell, who has known Warkina for the last three years through her son, says he is motivated and likable.

“I didn’t know much about his background until he brought up the idea on his graduation.”

Mrs Hatchwell who is the director at DUO NZ IT Company used her experience to help expand Warkina’s mission and reach out to people.

“With my business associate I managed to contact the organisation Give A Little and create a profile for Warkina.”

“Because of my experience in IT, I thought we should do a social media experiment where we get his friends involved.”

“We also looked at doing sausage sizzle and movie night which has gone a long way to helping him fundraise over $4000 so far.”

Mrs Hatchwell said Warkina’s popularity has played a big part in attracting his friends to donate money.

Warkina will walk the root of his father in Addis Abeba. IMAGE Sam Effron.

Warkina will walk the root of his father in Addis Abeba. IMAGE: Sam Effron

“He’s very popular, he has thousands of friends on Facebook, so we set up a Facebook page which expanded really fast to over seven hundred likes.”

Warkina’s long-time friend Paul Androutsos said he was more than a friend, describing him as family.

“We met in year seven at Olympic Football Club and ever since we started to hang out, play football together.”

Warkina’s mission will be through the organisation International Volunteer Head Quarters (IVHQ) and will run for six months, consisting of two-month trips in three countries in Africa in – Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

In Wellington, Warkina’s enjoys playing for Team Wellington Youth in the ASB Youth League.

You can help Warkina by donating on Give A Little or by visiting his Facebook page, Warkina Tujuba – My Mission.

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is a Whitireia journalism and radio student, Sports writer and covering all local news in the Miramar and Seatoun region
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