No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to make the world a better place.
Just ask the great philosophers of ethics, this 93-year-old grandma from Italy – and her very proud granddaughter, who told UNILAD all about her adventures.
Her name is Irma Dallarmellina and two weeks ago she embarked on a journey from her small town of Noventa Vicentina, Veneto, to Kenya to volunteer her help at an orphanage.
Her proud as punch granddaughter, Elisa Coltro, is determined to share this ‘tenacious woman’ and her story with the world.
She told UNILAD Irma’s is ‘a life made of poverty, sacrifices and a lot of strength’:
My grandmother Irma was widowed at the age of 26, she lost her husband in the war. In the same year she also lost a three-year-old daughter. She spent the rest of her life working hard, day and night to raise the other two children, my mother and my uncle.
Elisa wrote a post about her grandmother’s inspiring story on Facebook with photos sent from her mother, Graziella, who is accompanying Irma on her journey, alongside a couple named Francesca Fontana and Giannino Dal Santo.
She explained Irma’s desire to go to Kenya, adding:
She was a benefactor of Father Remigio, a Paduan missionary who gave his life to help children and many people in Kenya.
For some years now, my grandmother had the desire to go personally to Kenya, to greet Father Remigio, who is now hospitalised, and to visit all those places such as kindergartens, hospitals and orphanages that Father Remigio built during the course of his life.
Her initial Facebook post went viral in Italy, with so many praising the nonagenarian Good Samaritan.
Hundreds of comments flooded in on pictures of Irma helping out at the local orphanage, Nord-kinangop hospital, Caren Dimesse sisters, Ongata-Rongai, and Fatima Hospital.
This is my grandma Irma. A 93-Year-old kiddo, who tonight left for Kenya. Not in tourist village served and revered, but to go to a village of children, in an orphanage.
I’ll show you because I think all of us should always keep a hint of unconsciousness to live and not to survive. Look at her, but who’s stopping her? I love her. [sic]
Elisa has been keeping everyone on social media updated as her grandmother travels the country, sharing goodwill and making friends in what has been described as a ‘beautiful experience’.
At the time of writing, Irma has arrived in the Kenyan town of Miandi, ‘after complicated and tiring internal flights’, where she has befriended the locals.
Elisa said Irma ‘has become everyone’s grandmother’, having bought jute for all the women in the town and ‘giving her watch to her new friend Robert’ who she met at the beach.
Irma also spent some time at a Kenyan hospital helping make arts and crafts boxes to be sold in fundraising efforts.
Irma’s story just goes to show age is never a barrier to missions of the heart.
She’s not the only grandma to be breaking down the stereotypes of old age. Meet another Wonder Woman: Pat Reeves, who is Britain’s oldest female powerlifter.
Pat told UNLAD how she survived a 30-year battle with cancer by lifting weights:
Pat has picked up trophies and titles for the last 26 years – successfully breaking records and becoming World Champion and British Champion in her category for the last five years.
We want Pat and Irma fighting our corner, any day.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.