In February we became involved with Sarah and Mwongela as Ruth facilitated a plan and then financial support was given to allow them to be moved to Elijah’s orphanage. We have a wonderful update about these children. They have settled in very well and have both become the top students in their respective grades at their new school! Both the headmaster and Elijah say they are the brightest students they have ever had. We have decided that in addition to the money that was given to facilitate the move ongoing monthly support will be provided making them the 9th and 10th children receiving ongoing support.
We have spoken to Elijah about paying the rent for his orphanage, The Exodus Children’s Home, for one year. The cost is just under $2000.00. The students of LaSalle Public School, a school just outside of Windsor, under the leadership of Grade 8 teacher, Tammy Bachmeier, have decided to take this on as their project. They have already raised over $1500.00 and have pledged to raise the rest! What an amazing example of students stepping forward – because of them the 21 orphans of Exodus will have a secure, safe place to live for this coming year. We’ve already forwarded this information to Elijah and we expect that he and his children will get back shortly to express their gratitude.
We have also added three more orphans to our program. They are Mutunga, Ndaisi, and Mulwa. All three of these children were deemed to be suitable candidates to receive support. Every two weeks they are given food packages to help support them and their extended families – grandparents and siblings. Information about these children will be added to the website in the weeks to come so that you can become more aware of the stories behind the individuals that you are helping to support with your kindness.
I want to continue the story about Chanel. Chanel is a Grade 8 student. She undertook probably the most creative fundraising effort I’ve ever seen – she had a dreadlock cutting party to raise money. She raised $570.00
In March we used $320.00 of Chanel’s money to plant a one acre plot of land as an orphans’ garden. The children in the project, along with siblings, helped to prepare and plant the land. In addition they were given instruction by Henry in proper horticultural practice. Throughout the time of the garden being planted, cared for, and harvested the children will receive ongoing instruction – we are creating our own little “4H club” to provide ongoing life lessons.
It should also be noted that the water for this project comes from the water tower that was repaired the previous year with funds from The Creation of Hope.
St. Patrick Catholic School in Port Colborne, under the leadership of Principal Susan Tromanhauser donated $270.00 that they raised in a pyjama day. They requested that this money be used for mattresses and blankets and that’s what we did!
Twenty-two orphans received blankets and 9 orphans received mattresses. These pictures show two visitors to the project in Kikima, Brooke and Natalie, who were Ruth’s guests for four days and were there for the distribution of the blankets and mattresses as well as food. Brooke and Natalie are members of Canada’s Women’s Sevens Rugby team and were in Dubai for the World Championships and stopped in on their way through Kenya.
While we are not actively operating any efforts to send visitors to Kikima we are going to, from time to time, have people who Ruth will host. Plans are being finalized for a university student, Lisa, to spent 3 months split between Ruth’s home in Kikima and Elijah’s Exodus Children’s Home.
Uniforms: Children up until Grade 8 (Standard Eight) receive free education. There is a catch, though – they require a uniform or they cannot attend. Many of the orphans, struggling for food, don’t have uniforms. A wonderful young woman, Rumeet Toor, has stepped forward to help. Rumeet Toor is a Social Entrepreneur and is committed to enabling education. She is an M.Ed student at the University of Toronto and operates an employment job board (www.jobsineducation.com) that connects Teachers and Employers in the education sector. Rumeet is also the recent recipient of the Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award presented by the Women’s Executive Network. She has fundraised to provide uniforms for 53 orphans. In March material was purchased and initial fittings took place. This cost is $607.50. All materials were locally purchased and now, in April, the uniforms will be made by local seamstresses and distributed. Pictures will be provided in next month’s update.
We believe very strongly in using local material and labour in all our endeavours whenever possible – as we did previously with the water tower repair. This provides local employment (which feeds children), allows more money to circulate in the community, helps to stimulate local businesses, and makes people in the community active partners in the project.
Kikima has a Polytechnic Institute which provides education for children who cannot afford to go to high school. It has traditionally taught carpentry, masonry (building with bricks and blocks and mortar) and seamstress skills. Kikima got electricity two and a half years ago and it was felt that the time was right to add computer skills – all that was lacking were the computers. In March, the project provided the money to fund 5 desk top computers to the polytechnic. These computers are refurbished and are part of a program that is being pursued by the Kenyan government. This was partially funded by money that the Walters’ family donated in 2007 and money generated by the project.
Our most successful fundraisers ever held happened in schools in Hamilton this month. On March 9, at Delta, March 10, at Sir John A. Macdonald, and March 12, at Delta, we held three amazing literacy days – Reading Makes A World of Difference. Children from across Hamilton attended these days and had the opportunity to hear from some of Canada’s best known children’s writers and musicians. On March 9 children in grades 1 – 3, saw Jo Ellen Bogart, Sharon Jennings, Eddie Douglas, and Barbara Reid. On March 10 it was Ken Oppel, Deb Ellis and Eric Walters performing for grades 4 – 8, and finally on March 12, William Bell, Steve Pitt, Belladonna and Eric Walters spoke to high school students.
The final numbers are still being tallied as money is gathered from schools but it appears around $12,000 was raised.
In addition on the literacy days children brought in winter clothing one day, a book to donate on a second day and the third, a non-perishable food item. The food items have already been distributed to the local food bank and plans are being made for the other items to be distributed on a First Nations Reserve in Ontario.
These events were so successfully received that plans are already underway for next years’ events. Special thanks to Barry Smith, V.P. at Delta who took on leadership for this project and Colleen Stinson, also of Delta who helped organize at Delta and then attended the other two days to offer assistance.
In March our program took a gigantic leap forward with Ruth being hired as a full-time staff running and coordinating all aspects of the program in Kikima. She has, over the past eight months been working on a volunteer basis, but now, with her on the ground full time we can do so much more – as you can see by the impressive list of accomplishments this month. In her full-time role she will be conducting many seminars and workshops for local youth and adults, discussing issues as diverse as hunger, disease prevention, health care, agriculture and micro-grants and loans. She will also be pursuing grants and initiatives through the Kenyan government for the community and acting as an advocate for those in need. While Ruth was born and raised in Kikima she has her Masters Degree from Acadia University in Nova Scotia and has extensive work experience in community development, and working with non-profit humanitarian organizations. She will continue to be aided in her efforts in Kikima by her husband Henry, daughter Kay, and our wonderful friends, Reverend Phillip and Elijah.
Planned for March
Planting and maintaining the vegetable garden – expected cost $320.00. This will be funded by money raised by an amazing girl, Chanel, who had a dreadlock cutting party and raised $570.0!
School uniforms for 50 orphans to allow them to continue to go to school – expected cost $880.00 – this money is being provided by a wonderful woman named Rumeet . . . you’ll hear more about her in the March update.
Providing $280 worth of blankets and mattresses will be distributed to orphans, funded by St. Patrick Catholic School in Port Colborne which held a pyjama day to raise the funds.
Ongoing support for TEN identified children, 8 residing with their families and 2 in Exodus Children’s home. – Total cost $540.00
Hiring of first full-time staff member, Ruth, to continue to distribute aid, identify situations, provide education, and advocacy. Ruth’s salary will be provided by private donations and not from student and school fundraising.
March 9, 10 and 12 – literacy days in Hamilton schools to raise funds.
The rent for Exodus Children’s home is $166.00 per month or $1992.00 per year. Funds will be directed from The Creation of Home program to pay for the rent for one year for this Children’s Residence.