A NURSING student learnt a valuable lesson when she spent two weeks working in a Kenyan orphanage as part an international placement during her studies at Teesside University.

Final year Nursing (Learning Disabilities) student Catherine Thompson used her time helping street children and orphans while also observing in a government hospital.

The 35-year-old, of Stockton, said: “I knew it would be poor in terms of facilities and care delivery, but was shocked to witness the extent of poverty. The patients needed to pay for their care and the equipment was sparse.

“Where I was staying, there was massive poverty. People couldn’t afford basic care and were often discharged before they were ready.

“Also during my placement, I realised people with learning disabilities were very much excluded and left to fend for themselves. It was not unusual to see people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities on street corners begging. I was shocked and sad to see this. It was as if they had been rejected from society.”

The mother-of-three, who took £5,000 raised before the trip to help orphans by supplying essential items, said: “I discovered that there weren’t just a few orphanages, but hundreds. There was at least one every square mile, which made it difficult to decide how best to use the money.

“It was obvious they all needed money, so decision making became difficult and emotional, especially as corruption is rife. We had to take great care when handing over donations to ensure the money was going to the intended recipients.”