Woman turns author in a bid to help poor street kids

FROM Ossett to Mexico and back – that’s all it took for an Ossett business woman to become an author and found a charity.
Formerly known as Anita Wicks, the 50-year-old now goes by her author name of Anna McKann and is preparing for the launch of her first book, with all the profits going to her new charity Rainbow Childcare International (RCCI), named after her 20-year-old Ossett nursery business on Wakefield Road.

Ms McKann’s new work of fiction based on fact, Chavos: The Kids of Distrito, follows the life of nine-year-old Dolita, bringing to light issues ranging from poverty to glue sniffing on the streets of Mexico City.

She now hopes that her book will not only raise awareness of the issues the street children face, but also raise enough money to actually help them.

It all began when the Wakefield author was doing research on poverty in Latin American countries for a Spanish class project and stumbled across websites full of information on the street children of Mexico.

She explained: “I discovered that 40 million children were living on the streets in Latin America and my heart just broke and suddenly I’m thinking what can I do to help?

“I have a strong Christian faith and it led me to book a flight to Mexico.

“Even though everyone thought I was crazy, I knew I had to go.”

That was in 2003 and since then, Ms McKann has been back a further four times and after hitting the streets and visiting children’s hospitals and homes, she now has a network of connections to call on including some in government.

“I saw what happened first hand when children live on the street and what happened when these children were rescued,” she added.

“Because I work with children, I feel I have a heart for them and want to do what I can to help.

“And I know that some people may ask why I’m helping overseas children when there are kids here in need, but we haven’t got the same needs here than they have in third world countries.

“I’m also hoping that in the future, the charity I’m founding can help children anywhere in the world, but you have to have a primary focus and start somewhere and have to go with your heart.”

The main aim of RCCI is to rescue abandoned, abused and neglected children by setting up rescue centres and employing the local population to help as workers.

Her new book, which has already received favourable reviews, will officially be launched on Friday, November 10 and Ms McKann added: “I hope that this book will impact on the children who read it and deter them from taking drugs after seeing what happens to these kids.

“And as regards to seeing it actually on the shelves, I don’t know how I’ll feel until it happens but it will certainly be a weird experience.”

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