CLARA’S ‘Operation Trans-formation’ contestant and joint winner of the Offaly Association Dublin Person of the Year Ronan Scully admits that food has always been close to his heart. He’ll be the first to attest to his love for a bit of grub – and concedes that his fondness for food was a major contributor to the weight gain that saw him rise to over 16 stone, in recent years.
Ronan’s participation in the popular RTE television show has enabled him to change all that however, but the three or more stones that he has lost isn’t the only transformation that have taken place in the life of the affable Offaly-man, this Summer.
A change of employment to work as a charity fundraiser with Portlaoise based Self Help Africa has been another major transformation for Ronan, who says with some irony that food is probably on the menu for him now more than ever before, although in an entirely different way.
“Since I started working with Self Help Africa the entire focus has been on food, and particularly how it can be grown in difficult conditions and tough climates in the developing world.
“I may have had my own struggles with food in the past but the weight loss challenges that I faced on ‘Operation Transformation’ are absolutely nothing to the ordeal that millions of Africans face in putting enough food on the table and providing for their families, simply to survive,” he remarked.
Ronan says that he understands now more than ever how critical farming and food production is to poor communities around the globe.
“At Self Help Africa we are providing farming communities with good quality seed, by supporting the development of irrigation, and by a whole host of other measures that can give people some protection from the kinds of problems they are facing in parts of East Africa today.”
For Ronan the plight of the people of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia is particularly troubling. An adoptive father of two little girls from Ethiopia, he says that it has been particularly tough to watch the pictures of the famine on the news bulletins, or explain to four year old Mia what is happening in the country that she came from.
“Self Help Africa, which is the chosen charity of the Irish Farmers Association believe that they have a solution to hunger and poverty in Africa. They call it farming,” says Ronan.
The charity has been working in Ethiopia for more than 25 years, and has supported more than one million people in that country to increase the amount of food that they produce, and increase the amount that they earn from farming in that time.
For his own part the Clara-born fundraiser is planning on putting his best foot forward this Autumn, when he leads a charity run for Self Help Africa to Ethiopia’s capital, in November.
Ronan has already signed up close to a dozen runners to join him on the annual Great Ethiopian Run,a 10km walking and running challenge through the heart of Addis Ababa on November 27 next.
A handful of places are still left on the expedition, and Ronan Scully would love to hear from any Offaly participants who would like to join them. To take part the competitors are asked to raise at least €3,000 in sponsorship support – which will cover all costs of a trip that will also include tours of the city, and a short field trip to see Self Help Africa’s work in rural Ethiopia.
To find out more contact Ronan on: 1850 757678, or visit: www.selfhelpafrica.org