James packs his bags for families in need in Africa

An employee at Europa Worldwide Group’s Northampton warehouse is planning his next trip to Africa where he will donate clothes and other essential items to families in need – collected from his colleagues, friends and family in Northampton.

James Brown, who has worked as a warehouse operative for logistics operator Europa at its site in Grange Park for more than 11 years, regularly travels to the villages of Mwkamba and Tiwi in Mombasa, Kenya with his wife and parents-in-law.

On his last trip, James and his wife Michelle – who live in Grange Park - took clothes and workwear donated from Europa staff in Northampton to give to the villagers.

He said: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to Europa from my in-laws Ros and Graham Cowap, myself and my wife for donating some of the old Europa uniforms to people living in Mwkamba and Tiwi.

“We are not a charity – this is just something we have been doing for about 15 years after meeting some of the local people that live in a village near the hotel where we stay when we go on holiday in Kenya. 

“We take over what we can and pay for the extra airline baggage ourselves. Most of the time it's things like T-shirts, shorts, shoes, trainers, football shirts, pens, writing pads, and toothbrushes for men, women, boys and girls.”

James added: “In the last few years we have also been able to build a house for a family and buy some goats and chickens for the villagers, so that the eggs can be sold and the goats’ milk can be used for various things. 

 “It is really rewarding to help these lovely people, as they are all so grateful and can't believe that people so far away are thinking of them. Donating clothes may feel like a small thing to us but it means so much to these villagers.” 

James and Michelle are planning their next trip to Kenya for January 2018 and so far have collected more than 40 pairs of trainers for the visit.

HR Director at Europa Carl Potter added: “We’re very proud of James – he’s found a cause he truly cares about and believes in and is demonstrating real community spirit, which is something we value highly at Europa.”

James’ work in Kenya is supported at home by Europa’s company-wide initiative, ‘Suits Away’, in which employees are encouraged to donate their unwanted formal work wear to charities which provide interview clothes for unemployed people and people on low incomes.