Creation of Hope

April 2009

Hess Public School, under the leadership of Christine Wilson, raised $250.00 by holding a ‘gently used toy’ sale. This money was used to buy 18 Canada T-Shirts, 12 waterproof crank driven flashlights, and $30.00 worth of pencils and school supplies. Below are pictures of the T-Shirts and flashlights on my kitchen table. The school supplies will be purchased in the marketplace in Kikima.

The flashlights are an incredibly effective gift because all of the children who will receive these have no electricity in their homes – once night falls their world is darkness. The flashlights are powered by simply cranking a handle and will never require batteries. Now they have light to do chores, and more importantly, to do school work.

These are being delivered by hand in May. Lisa, a fourth year engineering student from University of Waterloo, will be spending the next three months in Kikima, living with Ruth, working in the local high school, being part of the food distribution program, working with the children and their families and spending time with Elijah and his children in the Exodus Children’s Home.

In the May update we will have more pictures – hopefully of kids wearing these T-Shirts and holding their new flashlights. Special thanks to the kids of Hess Public School – your efforts have lit the way to a brighter future for these children!

I’m going to slip in something here that happened in May because it was so wonderful. On May 7, I attended at Ray Lewis Elementary School as part of a ceremony for the students to turn over funds that they had raised. They handed over $1166.00 – almost all of it in rolled coins! As I drove away with the money the suspension of my car was sagging and my heart was soaring. The whole school was involved but the driving force were the Grade Three students under the leadership of Sandi Inglis. In the May update there will be pictures and a full write-up. I just wanted to put something in this update as a thank you to those incredible kids!

Uniforms

Last month we talked about uniforms being supplied. Here is a picture of most of the 53 kids who received new uniforms in April.

The importance of uniforms cannot be overstated. While school is ‘free’ up until the end of Grade 8, there are certain things that need to be paid for including text books, school supplies, exams for high school entrance, and ALL students must wear a uniform – no uniform means you can’t go to school.

For the very poor, they can’t afford uniforms and are deprived of their education. Some of the kids who received uniforms went to school with a few strands of tattered fabric around their necks as the last shreds of their uniforms. Others in this group simply could not go to school. Now these 53 children are all able to go to school. These uniforms were funded by Rumeet Toor – thank you Rumeet!

It’s important to note that they were made by local seamstresses, with materials that were purchased locally. This local connection means that the merchants and seamstresses are provided with income and employment which allows them to support their children. This is a vital part of micro-industry that helps to empower the entire community.

You’ll notice that there are four different colours of uniforms. Each school has their own distinct colour of uniforms. The most needy children, mostly orphans, were found from these four school areas.

You’ll also see the ‘hoods’ for the younger children – an added feature our seamstresses made for the little kids to help keep them warm. During the winter months in this region – our summer – the temperature ‘drops’ down to 5 or 6 degrees at night and daytime temperatures are in the high teens and low twenties. This is warm for us here in Canada, but is cold by their standards. As these young students walk to school in those ‘cold’ mornings they will be snug in their new hoods.

FUNDRAISING AT Beachburg P.S.

I love when people get creative. Below is a summary, and some pictures of what Beachburg P.S. did to raise funds. The write-up is by Sherri Wylie, who led the efforts in her school.

Beachburg P.S. is a small, rural school with approximately 150 students and 16 staff members. Our class reads a lot of Eric Walter’s books and when we discovered Creation of Hope we knew we could help. The class brainstormed a variety of ways to raise money: penny drive, bake sale, etc, but decided that the best way to raise money was to offer a cheap incentive. Therefore, they asked all staff members if they would be willing to dye their hair if a certain amount of money was raised.

They decided that half of the money would be donated and the other half would be put towards their class trip. We established a time line of 8 days to maintain momentum. Our goal was $600. The community support was amazing! To ensure we met our goal a parent came to our bake sale at the end and bought the last dozen cookies for $50! The night before it was over, we were at about $500 and another parent donated the last $100. In total we raised $700 in 8 days! All the teachers and support staff left for Easter break with colourful hair! The students are pleased to have raised some money for their trip, but more importantly are looking forward to seeing what their efforts have done to help others.

Sherri Wylie

In the coming months we’ll make sure we get back to Beachburg – and post on our updates – what this money is going to provide.

Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga has raised $2065.35! They have used a ‘buy out’ in which students were able to purchase an early dismissal on a Friday afternoon and ‘top up the change’ in the cafeteria line at lunch. Some of this money has being directed to supporting specific children. $120 was given to Exodus Children’s Home for the ongoing support of Sarah and Mwongela (who continue to be 1st in their classes in Grade 8 and Grade 4 respectively).

Every two weeks there is a food distribution to provide for eleven orphans and their extended families. We are very grateful to have sponsors who provide monthly amounts to subsidize these distributions. However we have a shortfall of $167.00 per month between the amount the sponsors donate and the amount we need to provide this aid. Funds from Erindale were used to cover this shortfall this month.

Erindale students can ask teacher Brooke Hilditch about the food distribution process as she was present for one of these distributions. They are very moving experiences and the children, their siblings, cousins, grandparents and guardians are incredibly grateful.

Erindale will be provided with more information, at each step, as the money they raised is used to help people in Kikima.

Literacy Days Update

The literacy days in Hamilton were an incredible success. In addition to the funds raised through paid admission children also brought in clothing, books or non-perishable food items. The food items were turned over to a Hamilton food bank while the books and clothing were given to Six Nations on April 17. The children of the Hamilton-Wentworth Board provided support to the local, provincial and international communities, showing that charity does begin at home but can extend across the globe.

Evening Event

On April 17 we hosted 96 guests for a Kenyan meal and then provided information, pictures and stories about The Creation of Hope. It was a wonderful evening which raised awareness and also helped to raise funds for the project. Steve Pitt, a good friend and children’s writer who gave his time for one of the literacy days also gave of his time for this event. He is a professional chef and helped cut, chop, cook, and coordinate the preparation and the serving of the Kenyan stew. Special thanks to Steve.

Education

A part of Ruth’s role is to provide education and advocacy. In April she held seminars for young people in Kikima. Over 1600 children and young people attended! She spoke to them about the importance of education, health issues, AIDS awareness and information, and the need to work hard to pursue life goals. She was – as always – a powerful speaker who inspires her audience. The young people, who attended for free, were so moved and grateful that those with some means decided to donate money. In the end over 10,000 Ksh (about $166.00 Canadian) was donated. To get this in perspective remember that many of these children have no money what-so-ever and are coming from the most destitute situations imaginable. Ruth promptly gave these offerings to the local church council to provide aid for orphans in their church families.

It is always amazing to me to see those who have almost nothing, are still willing to give to those who have nothing.

Over the course of the two days of seminars the children in attendance were all provided with meals. For many of the 1600 children fed this was their only food of the day. Both their bodies and their minds were fed. A full stomach allows for better learning.

The money for these meals, and the wages of the people who prepared them, came from Erindale Secondary School.

As well as employing local people for the day to help prepare and serve the food, all food was locally purchased. This helps to extend the reach of the program by, in essence, supporting local micro-industry. Farmers who sold their crops were able to feed their children and buy more seed for the next crop. The women who prepared and served the meals received wages that fed their children and helped purchase items in the local shops and stands.

In a related note, there are tentative plans for Ruth and Henry to come to Canada in September. They will visit with family, spend time in the G.T.A. and Ruth will do speaking engagements. We have already had a request from Ray Lewis P.S. in Hamilton and from a number of church groups. If your school or community group is interested in having Ruth speak about The Creation of Hope please contact me and we’ll start making a tentative schedule.

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