05/16/2009 11:35 PM | By Alice Johnson, Deputy UAE Editor
Dubai: Tonnes of clothing sent by Dubai residents to help the needy in Kenya have been stuck in Mombasa Port for more than a year.
In March 2008, Gulf News reported on the 'Aid In Motion' appeal for container sponsorship, after the shipping company concerned pulled out support for the initiative.
Local sponsors came forward and the containers were sent to Kenya and distributed in the slums around Mombasa - or so it was thought.
Lola Lopez, founder and CEO, Aid in Motion, said: "Three containers are currently stuck - we haven't been given any reasons why the containers are not going through. This [clothing collection] was a city-wide operation, with even 15,000kg of clothes coming in from Bahrain.
"We don't care who needs the support - a country in need is a country in need. If Bangladesh don't restrict the clothes coming through, then we will send them to Bangladesh," Lopez continued.
The local sponsor who came forward after reading of the shipping sponsorship opportunity in Gulf News last year, is now concerned that he may be liable for the costs incurred in fines, through keeping the containers at the port.
"I'm a great supporter of CSR initiatives and charity, but I am concerned about how much in fines this issue may generate," he said.
The shipping documents obtained by Gulf News stipulate that the consignee, responsible for clearing the shipment, is SoS Children's Villages.
No response was received from SoS Children's Villages' Kenyan-based office after requests for comment on the issue.
The other containers shipped out by Aid In Motion were released and the clothes were distributed with the help of the Muslim Education and Welfare Association (Mewa).