Creation of Hope

May 2009

Let’s start big and with a bang. Here’s the write-up from Rolling Hills Public School and their amazing fundraising efforts!

Hoops 4 Hope

By Megan, Olivia and Tom

In the past years Rolling Hills Public School has raised money for The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. We helped them by raising money for their foundation. But when Eric Walters came to our school on October 3, 2008 he inspired us with his stories for his trips to Africa so we decided to raise money for this outreach program in Kenya, Africa. So instead of Hoops 4 Heart we did Hoops 4 Hope.

Every year we have had a kick off assembly; of doing the big “raise more money than the other school” assembly. We said it was time instead to be the change, there are kids in Africa who don’t have a family, shelter, and food. We have to raise money for the children who are in need.

 

Everyone went out to raise as much money as they could for this foundation and we came back with $9,294.46! This is enough run the outreach program for a quarter of the year. Our goal was $5,000 but when came back with more we were blown away!

On May 15, 2009, we held our first ever “Hopes for Hope” basketball tournament. We had a total of forty teams, and Eric Walters was even on one of the teams!

We had a whole day outside playing basketball! We had everyone involved including staff, and students, even school council! Some parents even came out to watch! Coming in first for our basket ball tournament was the “Semi-Pro”. Coming in second was “Vengeance of the Fallen Revolution”.

Also to encourage the students to raise money for this great cause we gave prizes to the top fundraisers. The first prize was I-pod touch, second was I-pod chromatic, third was OC gift card for $50, fourth and fifth was a basket ball, and sixth, seventh and eighth was to throw a pie at the teacher of your choice. And if that wasn’t enough, we there was even a draw if you raised $25 for this great foundation.

Our school was so excited about all of this, the tournament, raising the money, and most of all helping all the children. We were so proud of all the money we raised for Eric Walters and his foundation. We can’t wait for the children to get the money to make their lives easier. We beat our goal which makes us really proud. Now we can’t wait to raise more money in the future for this amazing foundation.

While this incredible result was the work of the entire staff and student body at Rolling Hills for raising the incredible total of $9294.46! I want to give a special thanks to Abbie Wright who led this effort. People like Abbie are blessings to their school, students and entire communities.

As always, whenever possible, we like to use some of the money from each school immediately. Below you’ll read about Lisa Farlow, a 4th year Waterloo engineering student who gave up her summer (and a lucrative summer job in New York City) to volunteer to go to Kikima and spend three months teaching in the local girls’ high school, helping in our program on weekends and with the Exodus Children’s Home. While Lisa paid for her airfare to and from Kenya we had costs involving transporting her to the community and setting her up in the school. These costs, $91.60 came from Rolling Hills.

High school is not free in Kenya and many young people are denied their education because of this. The cost per year is approximately $325.00. While this is not, by our standards, a great deal of money, for many it is beyond their means; especially for those who are orphaned or living in extreme poverty. In honour of Rolling Hills and Abbie Wright we are using funds to offer a one year scholarship so one young woman at the school where Lisa is teaching can go to school for a year. This person will be selected by a committee including the headmaster of the school, Ruth, and Lisa, and will go to a deserving student who would not be able to complete her year without this support.

This scholarship will be presented while I am in Kenya and pictures will be provided and a thank you note will be sent to this special school and special teacher.

Food Distribution

Food distribution has taken place – as always – every two weeks. The shortfall between our sponsors’ contributions and the actual food aid provided remained at $167.00 each month. We have once again used funds from Erindale Secondary School to make up the difference. Thanks Erindale!

Exodus Children’s Home

Exodus Children’s home is operated by our good friend, Elijah, in the town of Machakos. Machakos is the largest town within the district and is about 50 kilometres away from Kikima.

Exodus is home to 22 orphans but also the home base to another 24 children who are provided food, support, and caring while residing in the homes of their grandparents/aunts & uncles, or guardians in the Machakos area. In addition Exodus is the focal point for women’s groups and has created micro-industry for dozens of handicapped adults in the community.

The children’s home is composed of two buildings – one is for the boys’ residence and the office and the other for the girls’ residence and the kitchen. The two buildings are separated by a courtyard and bound together by a wall that surrounds the complex. This facility is rented for a cost of $166.00 per month. This has been a large expense for this small program.

LaSalle School, located just outside of Windsor Ontario, under the direction of Tammy Bachmeier took on the challenge of raising money to pay for this rent. Here’s their story.

The intermediate students of LaSalle Public School became interested in helping the Creation of Hope after author Eric Walters visited our school to speak with us about his books. He also showed us a presentation about the foundation and some of the people involved in it. We were hooked immediately and knew we had to do something about it.

Student parliament became involved in fundraising for the foundation and the grade 8 students decided to become “Agents of Change”; citizens who understood the power of one.

Our first mission was to hold a loose change drive for the Creation of Hope. We called it the “Change for Change” drive. Students throughout the whole school brought in all their loose change for three weeks. The grade 8’s kicked it off with an $800 donation from their field trip funds. The rest of the school donated $751 dollars which allowed us to donate $1551 last month.

Eric informed us that we could help Exodus House with this money for about 9 months. That was great but not good enough for us. We vowed we’d raise the rest for the whole years rent of $2000.00. We enlisted the help of the grade 1s who planned a Hat Day. The hat day generated another $348.00 but we were still $101 dollars short. But not really, we are still awaiting student parliament’s total for the year!

Why was this endeavour so important to us? It allowed us the chance to actively get involved, to make a difference and leave a really positive legacy at our school. When we worked together to reach our common goal, we represented solidarity and peace. We were able to make our school environment a positive place by being good influences on younger students. We wanted to show others that it only takes one voice, one person to speak up, and others will follow. We were able to make a change in the world!

For the next 12 months, because of the caring of the students of LaSalle Public School, the rent has been paid! Not only will these 22 children have a roof over their heads but the entire outreach program will be able to operate using this residence as the base of their community operations.

In June when I am in Kenya I will be visiting with the Exodus Children and Elijah. They have asked for the opportunity to have a formal ceremony to offer thanks to the students of LaSalle – with me being the LaSalle representative. I will take pictures, video and make a point of getting these thanks, pictures and very personal greetings back to LaSalle when the new school year begins.

For a second month in a row, Erindale has also provided the funds for Sarah and Mwongela at the Exodus Children’s Home operated by our good friend, Elijah. This $120.00 amount provides food not just for these two children – who are our children – but end up providing all the food for 1/3rd of the children in the residence – seven children. During this month we received a new sponsor who will, starting on June 1, provide the ongoing aid for Sarah and Mwongela. This is wonderful news and we thank Erindale students for pitching in until this sponsorship could be found.

Previous to this month Exodus had 21 children, including Sarah and Mwongela. The 22nd resident was added this month. He is somebody you are all familiar with – Mutuku. As you may recall, Mutuku’s mother died in December of 2008 and he has resided in a number of placements since then. Since our original sponsorship with Mutuku last year he has had the misfortune of being in two placements that have not proven ideal for his needs. There was a decision made by Mutuku, Ruth, myself and Elijah that his ongoing care would best be provided at Exodus. In mid-May he relocated. Mutuku was very excited at the prospect of going to reside there and has made a commitment not only to become first in his class but to also act as a ‘big brother’ and to work with the ‘head boy’ Phillip to help provide guidance to the other students at Exodus.

There were costs involved in moving Mutuku, including providing him with a new school uniform, transportation and Ruth also brought a large quantity of food to provide for all the children as a ‘gift’ to all from Mutuku.

All of these expenses totalled $103.00. We used some of the funds from Ray Lewis P.S. for these costs.

Being first in a class seems to be an Exodus tradition. All of the children go to the same large community school. While there are hundreds of students the top marks belong consistently to those who reside in Exodus. Here’s an excerpt from a recent e-mail from Elijah.

The exodus Children’s Home is doing really well, in school. Class 8, sat for their End term exam and surprisingly No. 1- No. 4 were from Exodus, with Sarah being No. 1. In class seven one of our girls was among the top three. Mwongela was No. 1 while Regina followed in class four. Susan and Brian led in class three. I was asked by the Headmaster about the secret at the center. My answer was “WE BELIEVE WE CAN ACHIEVE.”

Elijah reports that when schools like LaSalle and Erindale contribute to the funding at Exodus they are not just supporting the physical needs of the children but saying to those children that they are special, that people on the other side of the world believe in them. They won’t let us down.

As promised last month when we got the funds, here are the T-shirts and flashlights paid for by the money raised by Hess Public School. In the fastest ‘turn-around’ in history the cheque was received on a Thursday afternoon, the T-shirts and flashlights bought that evening, packed into Lisa’s luggage, she flew there arriving on the Monday and they were distributed on the following Sunday. That’s nine days between the money arriving and kids benefiting from it in Kenya

Ray Lewis Update – Here’s how Ray Lewis Public School Raised $1160.00 – in their words – special, special thanks to the dynamic Sandi Inglis who led this effort.

Miss Inglis: It all started with a child’s enthusiastic “Miss Inglis, we should buy a goat.” My class had been privileged to attend the Creation of Hope Literacy Day in March and now they were all fired up with a desire to help the children of Kikima.

Class 2/3A: We felt sorry for the orphans and Eric Walters had told us that we could make a difference in their lives. We wanted to do something.

Miss Inglis: The question was what should we do? The grade 3 classes joined together and had a brainstorming session. In the end, we settled on a coin drive and a bake sale. The next decision was how much money we should try to raise.

Class 2/3A: We knew we could raise a lot of money; maybe even $1000.00 but Miss Inglis told us to be realistic. We decided (well, Miss Inglis decided) to raise $200 and Project Hope began at Ray Lewis School.

Miss Inglis: After eleven years of teaching, you’d think I would have learned not to underestimate the generosity of children.

Class 2/3A: What Miss Inglis is trying to say is that we didn’t raise $200. In fact, we didn’t raise $1000 either. Instead, we raised $1166.00 for the children of Kikima. It was so much fun when Mr. Walters came to our school to receive the money. We think he was surprised by our total.

Project Hope taught us many things. We learned about a different country and its culture. We had the opportunity to really practice our money skills. Baking and decorating the cupcakes for our bake sale was lots of fun – and tasty, too! But most important of all, we learned that a little (spare) change can go a long way toward making a big change in the lives of others!

Miss Inglis: This project has been a rewarding experience for the members of the grade 3 team. We’re already planning next year’s fundraiser!

 

It all started because they wanted to buy ‘a goat’. In May the first three goats were purchased using funds from Ray Lewis funds!

 

Mueni’s Aunt (because Mueni is too little to hold a goat), then Mutuku (his goat was paid for by a private sponsor), Ndaisi and Mutunga. Ray Lewis students have made it possible for these three children to take a major step toward self-sufficiency.

Welborne Public School is the latest school to raise funds for The Creation of Hope. Here’s their story.

 

Welborne Avenue Public School is an English Speaking school, located in Kingston, Ontario. The school enrols approximately 430 students from kindergarten to Grade 8. Established in 1968, Welborne has funded many charitable organizations, which includes the Creation of Hope. Friday April 17th, 2009, Welborne hosted a “Music Player Day”, where each student donated $5.00 to listen to their music player all day. Students also had the option to provide $2.00 in order to wear a hat. The student Leadership team of Welborne decided to donate the money raised to this particular foundation after hearing a motivational speech by guest speaker, Eric Walters. He spoke to all of the students about his foundation and what he does. It was certainly convincing and persuasive to all. At the end of the “Music Player Day”, Welbourne raised $731.10 with the help of the students and staff participation.

We always try our best to put dollars to work quickly. Here’s where the first of the Welbourne funds went to. Below are 10 solar charged calculators ($50.00), 2 crank generated lanterns ($54.94), 6 soccer balls ($28.56), some ‘pins’ to inflate the balls (97 cents), plus taxes for a total of $151.95. The solar powered calculators and the crank lanterns are gifts that keep on giving to children and schools that don’t have electricity. The soccer balls will allow children to have ‘the right to play’ because they are, after all, still kids.

We try to buy locally whenever possible – often right from the market in Kikima – however with some items, such as the crank lanterns and the solar powered calculators they are simply not available there.

These will be brought with me when I travel to Kikima in June and distributed to the Children’s Home, the local high school and local elementary school.

 

In the next update – which probably won’t happen until the end of July to cover June and July, you’ll see the kids who received these items.

On May 6th,I had the pleasure of presenting to students at Bloordale Middle School in Toronto. At the end of the presentation the students spontaneously reached into their pockets and went to their lockers and gave me $149.85! It is amazing when young people not only hear of the needs, but instantly decide to act. This money will be going over with me in June and the specific use will be documented in our summer update. While I’ll wait until I’m ‘on the ground’ to consult with our community partners I think it might be fitting if it goes directly to school supplies for orphans in the community.

Volunteer in Kikima

We have a young woman from Mississauga, Lisa Farlow spending 3 months in Kikima. Here’s what she wrote about her experiences, thus far.

I’m still typing on a cell phone, so though I proof read, there might be errors and I apologize for them: In September I start my final year of my engineering degree. This is the first summer I’ve had off for several years, and I’m so glad that I’m able to use it to have this experience in Kenya. I’ll be here for three months. During the week I teach math, physics, and computers at a very rural all girls boarding secondary school. The principal told me that sometimes in Kenya, girls are given the message that math and engineering sciences aren’t for girls; that girls lack the brains for such subjects. My challenge is to help the girls first unlearn this sentiment, then help them prove it wrong for themselves. They really are a bunch of enthusiastic learners, and I love being in the classroom with them.

On the weekends I help with food distribution. I think by now that I’ve met all the kids who are being sponsored, and they are all the greatest. They undertake the garden work with no complaining at all.

 

It’s amazing to watch how they share duties, with even the very little ones doing all that they can. The first time I met them, they sang an adorable song about how happy they were to meet me. I didn’t think to record it, but I think there are lots of photos from the day that might be posted here.

All the best,
-Lisa.

We’ve added a 14th child to our outreach program! Her name is Wanza Muthini. She is nine years old and is in standard three – grade 3. She is a very dedicated student who stands 7th of 23 students in her class. Her parents died, leaving her and her three siblings – Mbaika who had to leave school after Grade 8, Kakwasi who is currently in Standard Eight, and a little brother, Mulaki who is currently in Standard One. They all live with their grandmother, who is 70 years old.

The family is very poor and they rely on the infrequent relief food from the government which is minimal, plus occasional donations of food from well-wishers – which have become even rarer with the failure of the rains this year.

The siblings all share the same bundle of rags that they use for a bed. Within the next month we will work to provide them with two mattresses and a blanket each for all five members of the family. Wanza was one of the 53 children provided with a uniform last month. We’ll try to get new uniforms for her siblings as well.

An interesting side-note. Our people on the ground became aware of Wanza’s needs when she was one of the 53 children who received school uniforms last month. That was the first step that led to this sponsorship.

 

Inspecting and harvesting the garden! It keeps growing and giving! That’s Lisa in the left hand picture.

Steve Pitt – who is a great friend of project and donated his time to be part of the Literacy Days – has decided that he wants to try to help Kenya, one goat at a time. He’s playing with ideas – maybe it will be called Kids for Kids. While he’s playing with ideas he has been buying goats. Steve has been responsible for 4 goats being purchased this month. They have been named Nina The Nanny Goat of Kenya, Bobbi, Spitt (which is Steve’s nickname and not a habit) and Dennis. While a goat costs $40.00, Steve has made $50.00 gifts so that each goat can go with an initial bag of food.

This is Keli, wearing his familiar Canada T-shirt bought with funds from Hess Public School, holding Bobbi the goat, who is reportedly the most beautiful goat in all of Kenya! I’m not sure it that’s really true, but for Keli and his grandparents this is a beautiful animal.

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