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Raise the roof

215. Holly Bantleman

A 27 year-old from Ealing who founded an education, healthcare and sports charity in partnership with the Kenyan government, communities and local organisations.

10 Downing Street

Holly Bantleman, from Surrey, founded ‘Raise the Roof Kenya’ in 2011 when she was just 23. In the last four years the charity has reached over 1000 people in Kenya and Holly now spends a third of the year there managing projects whilse also leading a dedicated team of 20 volunteers in the UK who have spent thousands of hours fundraising for the charity.

In 2010 Holly decided to take a break from her career in television to travel and volunteer abroad, heading to Kenya for what was to become a life-changing trip. Her first project involved fundraising to provide tin roofs for local communities and her charity ‘Raise the Roof’ was born. Since then she has begun work with a community in an area called Barut to set up a vocational training school and sports centre, in partnership with the Kenyan Government and the Barut community.

Holly has led a group of volunteers, known as Team 1000, to raise over £70,000 to build The Barut Youth Development and Sports Centre, through an online fundraising campaign. The school is now the highest ranking in the district and has just had its first year of graduates with an expected 100% exam pass rate.

Alongside this ‘Raise the Roof’s’ healthcare work has provided communities with free access to health clinics, HIV testing and counselling. They also have a sports programme encouraging participation, particularly amongst girls, and supports the progression of local and national athletes.

These projects are all run in partnership with like-minded organisations and local communities, which Holly believes is key to sustainability and success Holly has ambitious plans for the future, including building a community centre in the heart of slum, connecting people to vital resources and education.

Her ‘Team 1000’ fundraising campaign which involves 1000 amazing volunteers, raising £100 each in 100 hours to build the centre, will begin next month.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Holly has shown remarkable drive creating a charity that works with communities to create sustainable sports, education and health projects making a real difference to communities in Kenya. I wish the best of luck to everyone involved with Raise the Roof Kenya, including Holly’s Team 1000 of dedicated volunteers and I am proud to name Holly the UK’s 215th Point of Light.”

Holly said:

“I believe there is much to gain by giving your time to a worthy cause, it has such a huge impact on your own happiness, well being and outlook on life. You build skills you never dreamed possible, have loads of fun, and make friends from all walks of life, all united in a belief that you have a moral obligation to make the world a better place and a desire for change. All of this, whilst helping improve the lives of others.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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