Campaigner Thelma makes her mark in the Philippines

A banner reading 'Celebrating Black History Month in Newham'

Councillor Thelma Odoi, whose focus in Newham is promoting positive change in Custom House ward, has also made a name for herself doing international charity work. 

By Newham Voices

Councillor Thelma Odoi
Councillor Thelma Odoi.

Councillor Thelma Odoi has recently been made an honorary board member of The Albert Schweitzer Familienwerk Foundation Philippines, Inc also known as the Children’s Haven Orphanage. This orphanage gives some of the most vulnerable children in the country a fresh start in life. 

She was made an Honorary Member of the Board in recognition of her commitment and support. She tells Newham Voices she has been touched by the many stories she has heard from the children and staff living at the facility; stories involving bereavement, imprisonment, addiction, abuse and very dire situations. 

Thelma is a teacher and has been a youth leader volunteer for more than ten years. She chose to volunteer In the Philippines because it is estimated that there are as many as 100,000 children currently being trafficked in the country. 

Thelma began her political life by running for the post of Young Mayor of Newham. She held several political positions such as Campaigns Officer for London Young Labour, Chair of the West Ham Labour Youth Forum. She is now supporting work on the regeneration of Custom House. 

She has taught in Europe, Africa and Asia. During her teaching career, she has held leadership positions and gained two further degrees from the University of Oxford, Department of Education. 

When she visits the orphanage, Thelma brings supplies such as toiletries not just for people in the orphanage but also for the local community where some people live in very difficult conditions and some of the children cannot go to school. 

In this context the stories of how young people from the orphanage overcome their challenges and are able to make a fresh start in life are an inspiration for the all, both inside and outside the orphanage. 

She says the orphanage is seeking volunteers who are willing to volunteer at the run activities and interact with the children. 

For more information on sponsoring a child, please email asffpi_cebu@ 

You may also be interested in her Just Giving page: www. 

You can also learn more about the orphanage at: www.