Prep girl highlights disease

A Cayman Prep schoolgirl is drawing attention to a terrifying disease affecting young children in far away Africa.

Tiggi Kohl, a grade 2 student at Cayman Prep, last week took to the school’s stage to teach her classmates and teachers about Noma, a disease that leaves children facially disfigured.

In her presentation, eight-year-old Tiggi said: ‘The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of 6 that live in extreme poverty and suffer chronic malnutrition.’

She first learned of the disease through Facing Africa, an organisation set up in 1998 to help raise money to fund doctors to assist in combating the invasive disease.

Noma is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection that affects the face. It has a mortality rate of 90 per cent, and those children who survive are left horribly disfigured.

When she learned about the disease and the organisation, young Tiggi decided she wanted to help, and along with her mother, Jane Wareham, set up Smile Africa, a Cayman-based organisation affiliated with Facing Africa.

With the assistance of Cayman Prep, Tiggi organised a ‘civy-day’ at the primary school which raised $1,685 for Facing Africa.

Brian Wilson, principal at Cayman Prep School said: ‘I am very proud of Tiggi, it takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of the school. Learning to speak in front of an audience is helpful for all students and we encourage that all our students to do this at every opportunity possible.’

Students who donated $5 or more received a free shirt, which promotes both Smile Africa and Facing Africa.

The shirts were sponsored by Krys and Associates, Stuarts Walker Hersant and Tower Marketing.

Kenneth Krys of Krys and Associates also brought local attention to the disease earlier this year when he took part in one of the world’s toughest foot races, the Sand Marathon, or Marathon Des Sables, across the Sahara Desert in Morocco to raise money and increase awareness of the disease.