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Keep volunteering after acid attack, says charity boss

    Kirstie Trup (left) and Katie Gee: urged to return to Zanzibar
    Kirstie Trup (left) and Katie Gee: urged to return to Zanzibar

    A major Jewish volunteering charity has urged young Jews to continue to work on projects abroad following the acid attacks on two young aid workers in Zanzibar.

    Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18 and from north-west London, will undergo surgery after sulphuric acid was thrown at them by two men on a moped in Zanzibar, East Africa.

    However, the chief executive of Jewish volunteering organisation Tzedek, Jude Williams, said this week that she hopes the attack will not deter Jews from volunteering in Africa.

    Tzedek has been sending volunteers to the predominantly Muslim city of Tamale in northern Ghana for 17 years.

    Ms Williams said: “Hopefully this event won’t prevent anyone from going to the developing world. it would be really unfortunate if people were turned off. There’s so much to learn and so much to give. Our experience has been incredibly positive.”

    This week the family of victim Kirstie Trup said they were glad she was now home in East Finchley, after being treated for her burns in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

    Speaking to the JC on Monday, her father Marc Trup said: “We’re delighted to have Kirstie home. She’s home just temporarily, back in [hospital] on Thursday, [but] she should be back home properly next week.”

    Ms Gee, from Hampstead, is believed to have suffered more serious injuries, with 80 per cent burns to her right arm, and 50 per cent to her torso. She remained in hospital.

    A view over Zanzibar
    A view over Zanzibar

    Ms Trup, who left JFS school in June, and Ms Gee, a former pupil at Francis Holland School in central London, were both members of youth group FZY, and were volunteering as teachers in Zanzibar with the charity i-to-i before going to university.

    Tributes poured in throughout the week for the girls. Ms Gee thanked supporters on Twitter, writing: “Thank you all for your support x”. Close friend Georgia Green tweeted: “I have the bravest best friend @katiejgee #getwellsoon” while Gaby Caplan, a friend of both of the girls, tweeted: “They’re both amazing people”.

    Police in Zanzibar have questioned five men. However, the motive for the attack remains unknown. They have urged the two girls to return to help with the investigation.

    The Foreign Office has updated their travel advice for the island following the attack. It says the incident appears to be the first acid attack in Zanzibar targeting foreigners.

    The advice now warns visitors to be “vigilant at all times, especially after dark”. But it notes that: “Around 75,000 British nationals visit Tanzania every year. Most visits are trouble-free.”

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