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UD-Express
Prayers for Lauren’s safe return
Lauren Kroutz. photo:SUPPLIED

WITHIN three weeks the community of Uitenhage managed to raise almost R34 000 for Lauren Kroutz (20) to come back home from Lima, Peru.

Lauren, who went to the city of Cusco in Peru six months ago, was left without a job and a place to stay when the Covid-19 virus also struck in Peru.

With the much needed money for her return to South Africa in place thanks to a massive community fundraising effort, Lauren has to overcome one last hurdle:

In order to get back to her country of birth, she and the other South Africans also stuck in Peru, need to travel to São Paulo (a Covid-19 hotspot) in Brazil to hail their flight home.

“At this stage, Brazil has the highest rate of transmission in the world,” said Gary Hendricks, who initiated the Run4Lauren virtual fundraiser to bring Lauren to South Africa.

She and five other South Africans were transported by the local South African embassy from other parts of the Peru to Lima where they were told they would have to charter a flight back home.

They stayed in Lima for several weeks without any income and no word of the embassy about being repatriated.

Back home, family members, friends and teachers at Uitenhage High School, where Lauren matriculated, were concerned about her well-being. This resulted in the initiative “Run4Lauren”, initiated by Gary Hendricks, an educator at her alma mater. This virtual run initiative inspired a whole community to get active and help raise funds to bring Lauren back home.

“Last Thursday we’ve reached our target of R30 000 for the flight from Lima to São Paulo and from there to Johannesburg.

“This now done and dusted. It is absolutely amazing how the public responded and participated. God is good, now we have to pray like never before that the rest of the repatriation will go according to plan,” said Hendricks.

A group of 71 South Africans, together with Lauren are awaiting a flight scheduled for Monday, June 15, from São Paulo to South Africa.

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