Creation of Hope


May 2014 Update

Opening Comments

Our program continues to flourish, grow, and evolve and we have to adapt and change to accommodate these circumstances.  And, most of these changes require additional funding.

One of the factors that influence our finances is the exchange rate when transferring funds to our program.  For those funds raised in Kenya  – more than 15% of our total budget – this is not an issue.  For transfers from Canada this defines our ‘buying’ power.  At one time the rate was close to 95 Kenyan Shillings for each Canadian dollar.  As of this last transfer, the exchange rate was just under 81 Shillings to the dollar.  In essence what we can buy with our dollars has effectively dropped by over 13%.  If you look at this in real money it now takes us a donation of $100.00 to purchase what we used to purchase for $88.50.

At the same time, as the currency is causing us to have decreased buying power, we have been required to buy more or pay more for services.

The two largest expenditures are food and education costs.

As our children have become older they are simply eating more food.  It takes more to feed older, larger children than it does smaller, younger children.  Our food budget continues to rise.  This is then elevated even further as we continue to actually grow, adding children to our residence.  While there is a limit to the size of our ‘lifeboat’ there are some situations that are simply too desperate to avoid.  This is the reason we have recently admitted two more children to our residence.

This year we have 42 children in secondary or post-secondary education.  This is a significant increase in numbers.  Confounding this further is that our children have continued to be successful in obtaining higher grades in elementary school and as such they have been qualifying for high level schools which cost more money.  We are so happy for them for having achieved such wonderful results but there is a financial obligation that goes with this success.  These numbers will continue to rise in the next few years as more children enter high school before we graduate others from post-secondary education.

It was projected that our total expenditures would drop when we finished the construction of The Rolling Hills Residence.  While there are still some monies that need to be spent finishing the building, the money previously spent on construction has been more than taken up with educational costs.

A final factor has been the need for more staffing.  This is a result of both growth in the numbers of orphans being served but also is a secondary consequence of the tragic death of our patron, Henry.  There were so many jobs that Henry simply undertook that must be staffed independently including security and driving, and working directly with the children – tasks that he took no pay to perform.

All of these factors have combined to create a need for more revenue to balance out our expenditures.  One of the changes involves the funds necessary to support the residence for one day.  A day of support involves paying for food, routine medical care, school supplies, the electricity, sanitation and water for the building, and salaries.  Previously these salaries included the matron, caretaker, cook, tutor, night watchman and community outreach worker.  We have now added a second security person, a part-time driver, and an additional person to help around the orphanage.  The cost of supporting the program for a day is no longer $75.00 but is now $100.00.  This will start in August days.

Increases in costs of other items will also start in the coming months:

Goat – from $40.00 to $50.00

Blanket – from $6.00 to $8.00

Chicken – from $8.00 to $10.00

School Uniform – from $14.00 to $16.00

Tool Set – from $20.00 to $25.00

Solar lantern – from $40.00 to $45.00

As always we will provide complete accountability and donations go to where they should go – providing for the orphans of Mbooni District.

New Well

Amongst the increased demands is the need for more water.  Our needs have gone beyond the initial well that we dug on the property.  Below is a second well being dug and blasted.

Schools

Mount Carmel-Blythewood P.S. in Leamington Ontario made a donation of $1250.97 under the direction of Irene Hartley and Rebecca Kantati.  These funds are being directed toward daily support and food distribution.

May2One of our biggest ongoing sources of support comes from Lasalle P.S.  Once again they have come through with funds to be used to pay for the education of ‘their two children, Eric and Faith.

Eric and Faith are two of our most promising, dedicated students.  Faith has just started university and Eric is in his last year of high level high school.

St. Francis Xavier Faith Mentors, under the leadership of Deborah Campbell made a donation of $200.00

As Faith Mentors, we try to help people in our world community. When Mr. Walters came to speak at our school last year, we made the decision to help support the Creation on Hope orphanage in Kenya.  We raised $200.00 this year by doing odd chores around the house for our parents and grandparents.  We also held a bake sale and popcorn sale in our school cafeteria.  We were so happy to be able to hand the money over to Mr. Walters when he came back to our school last week.  We hope the children are well and we wish them good health, love and happiness.

Your friends,

The St. Francis Xavier Grade 7/8 Faith Mentors

Ottawa, Canada

St. Teresa’s School in Peterborough donated $224.75 through Lent Collections with their Junior Division.

Ecole Harrison School in Brandon Manitoba raised $241.40 for our orphans.

A.Vito Martinez Middle School in Romeoville, Illinois donated $230.11.  I visited this school last January as part of my U.S. tour for the launch of The Rule of Three.

Ray Lewis E.S. in Hamilton, under the leadership of one of our wonderful sponsor, Sandi Inglis, has raised another $1020.00 plus an additional personal donation from Karon Peddle.

Last fall I did a tour of Alberta and had the great fortune to present to the students of Our Lake of The Snows Catholic Academy in Canmore.

May5

They raised $4757.45!  Lise, who coordinated this effort wrote – “ We are filled with pride and joy.”  As are all of us!

Again this money will be devoted to the ongoing support of our orphans in the residence.

May6

What an incredible donation which will be applied to daily support and food distribution.

May7

This wonderful donation is being used for daily support of our residence.  See the pictures below for the school and two teachers who made individual donations.  Great thanks to all!

Arthur P.S.

After hearing about the Creation of Hope, students in our school decided that we would like to help raise money to support children in Kenya. Our Global Awareness/Helping Others committee decided to hold dances for all of the students in our school. Typically, dances are only held for our grade 6,7 and 8 students, but the committee thought that the younger students would love to participate in dances as well. Our students organized 3 dances during the day! Our primary and junior students were invited to dance during recess time and our intermediate students danced at the end of the day. The only thing we needed to do was turn on some music and the students danced and a great time was had by all! Admission to the dance was through a donation, and students willingly donated whatever they had, because they knew that the money was going to help others! The dances were a huge success and we were able to raise $455.05 for the Creation of Hope!

Lisa Marshall

Individual Donations

I was at a Forest of Reading event when a young girl, Madison came up to me and gave a donation of $25.00.  These funds will be used to purchase blankets for orphans.  See the pictures below.

Brigitte who has previously purchased a sewing machine for the Residence has made donations to allow materials to be purchased to keep the sewing machine sewing!

Cora and James made a donation of $40.00.  This will be used to purchase a goat for an orphan.

Broni Talach made a donation which will be used for daily support.

Daily Support

Monthly Food Distribution

Every month we give out over 2 tons of food and goods to orphans and impoverished children living in extended families.  The costs of basic foods have continued to rise and we supplement sponsor donations with additional donations.  These people and schools have made donations that go toward paying for this donation.

Thank You Pictures

Sponsors

Students returning to school need to bring supplies.  These are the supplies for students either entering high school or returning to high school.  This is a major cost factor – not only the tuition fees – but the supplies; both school and living; which are expected to come with them when they are in school.

Mualuko receiving a present sent by his sponsor Dave Reyenga

Mutisya receiving a letter from his sponsor Matt

Syombua receiving presents funded by her sponsor Kathy Kay .  We also want to give Kathy our special thanks as we had ‘overlooked’ this request and she had helped us to remember.  It is both sad and somewhat inevitable that we will occasionally miss a request or commitment that is made by a sponsor or school.  We always welcome being helped to remember.  Amongst the hundreds of things we do each month there is no task that could mean as much for Syombua.

Mwikali

Mwikali and her sister Nzisa – centre – who are both being admitted to the Residence

Ruth and Mary

In the last week Kay has sent more than twenty pictures of sponsored children to their sponsors.  It’s always wonderful to get the latest picture – Mary is sponsored by Anita and I – and to see their growth and changes.

We are so appreciative of all the support from sponsors, donors and fundraising from schools,  so that we can continue with the work of serving these children!


April 2014 update

General comments

Running a program with only volunteers in Canada and a very overworked staff in Kenya means that at times we ‘miss’ something.  We recently had a sponsor contact us to say that she didn’t know if her child had received a parcel that was sent or that money she had donated for specific items had arrived.  Both had arrived and we simply didn’t remember to pass on those pictures.  We greatly appreciate anybody letting us know when we’ve overlooked, missed, forgotten or gotten something wrong.  Sometimes this is as simple as spelling a name wrong on a thank-you sign or directing an email to somebody it was not intended for.  We are far from perfect but hope to be perfect in correcting any mistakes we make.  Please, please, please never feel badly for asking questions or drawing to our attention anything that might need to be fixed.

In going through this month’s update I realized that two different sponsors have been given credit for supporting our program for May 3.  I have contacted both Jeff Stone of Sophiasburgh Central School and Ruth to give the school credit for one more day that is not May 3.  Our apologies for this oversight, but we felt we needed to include it in the update as our errors need to be part of our full disclosure and transparency.

Connor Clerke – who with his family sponsors a young boy  and who has visited Kikima twice before has agreed to take on some additional responsibility.  He will be helping Lisa Farlow in putting up our monthly updates.  Great thanks Connor!

In addition to just finishing up his degree in International Development from Guelph, Connor is also an emerging documentary film maker.  He has recently made a wonderful short feature about one of our children, Baraka, and the book that is about this remarkable young man (My Name is Blessing).  He is submitting it to film festivals but at some point in the not too distant future it might be available to view from this website.

Schools

Greenwood College School

St. John Paul II

Father Michael Troy Catholic School, under the direction of Erin Winch, made a donation of $274.00 which will be used to supplement our monthly food distribution to orphans and needy children in the community.  This is the second donation from this group of wonderful students!

Father Michael J. McGivney School, under the leadership of Martin Brown, made a donation of $1000.00.  This generous donation will be used to fund daily support for the residence for thirteen days and the remaining $25.00 will go toward our monthly food distribution to the community.

Eric Walter’s Visit

On March 24th, East Oxford had the pleasure of hosting Eric Walters for a full day.  Eric Walters, a well-known Canadian author, has written over 90 books.  His dynamic presentation enthralled each audience, from early years to grade 8.  In addition to being an author, Eric Walters is a philanthropist who co-founded the charity Creation of Hope (www.creationofhope.com) after a chance meeting with a young orphan boy while visiting Kenya.    The young orphan boy, Mutuku, is the main character in his latest picture book My Name is Blessing.  The Creation of Hope, which started small, providing outreach to 4, has grown to a project which supports over 400 orphans in the Mbooni Region in Kenya.  

Once we learned of the Creation of Hope, we at East Oxford decided to do something.  We kicked off “Chores for Charity Week”.  Students were asked to complete chores at home for a fee that was donated to the Creation of Hope.  We were very excited and proud to all witness Eric Walters receiving a surprise donation cheque made out in the amount of $430.  East Oxford students did an unbelievable job helping out others by helping at home.  Since his visit, we have learned that East Oxford will be the ‘parents’ of the Creation of Hope program from April 17 to 22, 2014.  We have ensured that on that date 53 children are fed, provided routine medical treatment, school supplies, the salaries of the matron, cook, night watchman, tutor and caretaker paid, the electricity, water and sanitation for the entire building provided.  Congratulations on your contribution EO, you should be very proud!

Mrs. Nichol

Sophiasburgh Central School, under the direction of Jeff Stone, held a spaghetti lunch one day and a bake sale the next.  They raised $446.00!  This money is going to be used for daily support for 6 days for the program.

Ecole Secondaire Sainte-Famille, under the direction of Lynn Nolan-Fox, donated $400.00 to our organization.  This money will be directed to daily support for the residence.

Individuals

Ingrid Langhorst made a donation in memory of her mother, Karin’s birthday.

A goat for linnea’s 16th birthday

Natasha Bacchus-Buschkiel made a generous donation to the program.  This money will be used to provide daily support for the Residence.

A generous donation from Steve Pitt will go toward a goat to be named Terzo and also to supplement monthly food distribution.

While all donations are so very welcome there’s always something about a donation coming from young people that warms my heart.  Below is a letter form Riley and Makenna documenting how they raised the money and how they want it spent.

They will receive pictures of the items when they are purchased.

Daily Support

$75.00 provides for food for the 53 children in the Rolling Hills Residence, their routine medical care, school supplies, the salaries of the matron, cook, tutor, night watchman and caretaker, the electricity, water and sanitation for the entire building.

Here are this month’s benefactors.

Two very kind Mississauga Veterinarians are honoured for their kindness.

You’ll notice in the two pictures above that two groups have been given credit for May 3.  A correction will be made to provide Sophiasburg with one more day so that they are supporting from 4 – 8 May and a day still to be assigned.

Thank you Pictures

Sponsors

                

Sarah from her sponsor Lou-Anne                     For Muinde from sponsors Christine and Emily

           

Kyalo with his sponsor new Nicole who provided him with a birthday gift!

 


March 2014 Update

March update

I want to start by saying how hard our whole team in Kenya is working.  The death of Henry – our founding patron – has left a gigantic hole in the lives of all those who knew and loved him.  It has also left Ruth and the other staff with a huge increase in work.  Ruth remains the hardest working person I have ever known.  Despite the loss of her husband she has managed to channel her remarkable energy and expertise to make sure that all facets of the program continue to move forward.  She has told me she does this not only because of the children and families who rely on the program but also to honor the memory of her husband.

Ruth has dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate in her community and is fuelled in her efforts by her strong faith.  She is now also given power and energy by her desire to continue the legacy she and Henry began.  I know Henry is looking down on her, a smile on his face, occasionally shaking his head ever so slightly in amazement as we all continue in our work – his work.

Ruth has delegated more work to other staff members, brought on some additional staff, and has also increased her hours of work.  In the end though, no matter who is doing the work, Ruth is overseeing, supervising, directing and is ultimately in charge.  We are in good hands.

In some instances we are a little ‘slower’ in responding, but we continue with the same promises we have made – you will see where your money goes; it goes to where the needs are the greatest; and finally,  the orphans are being provided for.  Thanks to all of you for being part of this.

I also have to admit that sometime during this month I failed to ‘save my work’ and I had to redo some parts of this update.  Aside from the obvious frustration factor it means that I hope I haven’t missed anything as I recreated my work.  This is a terrible omission on the part of a writer and I’ll try not to repeat this mistake again!

Each Christmas our children receive new clothing.  Here are a couple of pictures just to make you smile.

In March we lost our family dog, Lola.  She was a wonderful dog and we will miss her.  At the end , there was an act of great kindness shown to us by her vets – Dr. Paul Walker and Dr. Matt Walker.  In their honor we are making a donation to AIM which will be used to provide daily support for our orphans.  In the coming month a thank you sign will be sent to show them how this donation was used.

School Donations

East Oxford Central Public School raised $430.50.  This donation was made to me at the end of a presentation and will be directed toward daily support.  The school will receive signs designating their days in the coming weeks.

Julie Payette P.S. held a basketball game and raised $90.45.  Perhaps this is the perfect combination of my love of basketball and commitment to the program.  I wish I could have been there to watch . . . maybe throw in a couple of shots. They will know in the coming month how their money was used.

Sir Isaac Brock Brampton, under the direction of Nicole Brodie, raised $738.43.  Nicole and her husband Trevor are sponsors in our program and have spent time in Kenya meeting their sponsored child and seeing the program in operation.

Solar lamps are one of the most requested and appreciated items that a child or family can receive.  None of the orphans being raised in community settings have electricity.  They rely on kerosene lamps and these produce noxious fumes and have an ongoing cost.  Forty dollars provides a solar lamp that will give ongoing, cost free light to allow homework to be completed, chores to be done and brings light where there was only darkness – a wonderful way to look at our the involvement of this school.  Eighteen lights will be bought with this donation and here are pictures of the first children receiving a lamp.

Lasalle P.S. under the direction of Martha Martin raised money to support Faith and Eric by paying for their high school tuitions.

4

Making bracelets5

Selling baked goods

Eric is still in high school while Faith has graduated with sufficiently high marks that she has qualified for university.  We are investigating university placements and determining where she will attend.  We are understandably proud of Faith – and the students of Lasalle for funding her dreams and hard work

There is also a donation coming from Pope John Paul II.  They had raised money and were going to give me a check when I was there this month but made a decision to keep fundraising instead!  I look forward to receiving the update in the coming weeks!

 

Individual Donations

Nathalie and her family made a donation which will be used to provide one day of support for the Rolling Hills Residence and to help with monthly food distribution

Our good friends Nancy and also Maureen and Brian made donations in honor of my wife Anita’s  birthday.  These gifts will be used to support the monthly food distribution

Ann Wadge  honored  her mother’s 99th birthday with a donation.  Happy birthday Helen!

Daily support

$75.00 provides for food for the 53 children of Rolling Hills Residence, routine medical care, school supplies, the salaries of our matron, tutor, cook, night watchman and caretaker, the electricity, sanitation and water for the building.  Below are the ‘parents’ of our children for those days.

Food Distribution

Monthly food distribution formerly happened with all the recepients coming to our residence. We made an adjustment – which saved money and time – by going out in a rented matatu (a bus) and giving out the distribution at a number of satellite locations.  Now with our new van we no longer need to hire the matatu and further savings have been made.  Georgetown Rotary club has donated money to put the fuel in the tank to allow this to happen this month …(and the next and maybe the next after that, will come from this donation)

Each month we have a ‘deficit’ in the funds necessary to provide for the monthly distribution – this is the difference between the money donated by sponsors and the actual money we spend.  The following people/schools/organizations helped us take care of this month’s costs:

 

Thank You Signs

This is the first of many, many goats that are going to be distributed thanks to an incredibly generous donation by Marilyn.  Over the next months you will see more and more thank you signs.

 

Here are some pictures of text books and school books purchased with the donation from Vaughan Willard P.S.  For children living in rural Kenya, there is almost nothing they appreciate more than school books and supplies.  Education is so ingrained in their culture and they realize that the road from poverty to prosperity goes directly through the school – a place barred to those who cannot afford it.

 

Sponsors

Our sponsors regularly send parcels, letters and money for birthday or Christmas celebrations.  We try to always show them their child holding the objects they have sent/funded.  Here are a sampling of pictures that were sent this month:

Mbula from April

Koki from Koko

Eric is so grateful for his soccer shoes.  Kids need to play and Eric is a wonderful soccer player – as well as basically the brightest student in his grade.


February 2014 Update

Welcome, once again, to our update section.  Every month we account for how money has been donated and how it’s been spent, with a sampling of the many ‘thank you’ signs that are sent out to our donors, sponsors and supporters.  This is my favourite part of the website, although I have to admit that I often feel a little ‘pushed’ spending hours compiling it.  Then, when it’s done I realize the collective good we are doing, the impact we are making, and what a blessing it is to be a part of it all!

Schools

St. Anthony C.S. in Brampton donated $100.00 which they raised by selling cookies. This money was used for daily support – there is a thank you picture in that section below in this update.

St. Eugene C.S. in Toronto – under the leadership of Principal Linda Alonzi – raised $500.00 from the valentine dance held at the school.  This money is to be used for daily support and mattresses.

Below is a letter from St. Marco C.S. in Woodbridge outlining how they raised money for our program.

feb1

There were also personal donations from Rosanna, Vince Franze, Concetta and Danny, Fernanda.  This money is being used for support days and for mattresses for the residence.

A letter from Mount Albert Public School

Good Morning Mr. Walters,

You were recently at our school to give a presentation for our Junior and Intermediate Grades.  During your presentation you had mentioned about your organization, Creation of Hope.

For the second year in a row we organized a “New-To-You” Book Sale for our students during Literacy Week.  Our goal was to make sure every student goes home with a ‘new’ book which are generously donated from our school community.  The students bring a quarter and any funds that we do receive are then given to a charity or organization outside the school.

We would like to give our proceeds to Creation of Hope this year.  There was a total of $263.14 raised by our students.  I’d also like to make an announcement to the students of where the money went.  If you are able to provide me with some idea of what this will help with, that would also be great.

We are going to use this money for daily support of the Rolling Hills Residence.

St. Isaac Brock in Brampton donated $738.43.  This money is being used to purchase solar lanterns for the orphans.  Special thanks to Nicole Brodie, a sponsor in the program and visitor to Kikima, for her leadership in this project. We will share photos as the lanterns are being distributed.

Individual Donations

Brigitte made a wonderful donation that is being used to purchase a sewing machine for the orphanage.  This will be used to repair and make clothing for the residence and to teach our children how to sew and make clothing.

Chris Stevenson made a donation which is being used to purchase 3 blankets for orphans.

Jewlianne shovelled snow at her aunt’s house to raise money which was contributed to her school donation.

Rotary Club of Georgetown

On February 15th Anita and I attended a Valentine’s Day Dance hosted by the Rotary Club of Georgetown.  They had previously donated $1500.00 for the purchase of our van.  At the dance they made an addition donation of $250.00 to ‘fill up’ the tank a few times.  As well there was a secondary ‘bonus’ auction held when Barry and Ave Eddington ‘won’ the raffle item they had donated which raised another $200.00.

feb2

That same night we sold 7 copies of My Name is Blessing for a profit of $70.00 and somebody donated another $10.00 – so this altogether totals $530.00.  This money is being used to provide 3 days of daily support and the remaining money will go into our ‘gas tank’ over the coming months.

Monthly Distribution

We give out food (and blankets, goats, lanterns, beds, tools) every month.  The vast majority of this comes from the donations of sponsors.  However there are always extra costs.  This is primarily because we are not just providing for our sponsored children but others in the family constellation.  We can’t simply provide food for that one child; we provide enough that it can ‘stretch’ to other children.  Many of these are cousins who are orphans but those who might have one parent or, in some cases, two.  In all cases, all the children are in need of additional support in these homes.  We use additional donations to support the additional food distribution.

 

Daily Support

$75.00 provides funds to support the Rolling Hills Residence for 1 day.  That’s food for 52 children, routine medical care, school supplies, salaries for the matron, caretaker, tutor, night watchman and cook, and the electricity, water and sanitation for the entire building.  The following  are the days supported by these people/schools.

 

School Start up Kits

The start of Form 1 – Grade 9 – comes with additional costs.  As most schools are residential (the student lives at the school) they must bring with them many of life’s necessities. Think about how a first year university student must bring many things to equip their dorm room – although in this case it’s a dorm room without a mattress or bedding.  This cost can be almost as expensive as the first semester’s tuition and we have generous supporters who help pay this additional cost.

Thank you Pictures

These are a sampling of the pictures we send out to individuals and schools to not only show our thanks but to help provide accountability.

Sponsors

At present we have 117 sponsors.  They live in Canada, the United States, Germany, and significantly, in Kenya and  provide a monthly payment to help support ‘their’ child.

Over the last year we have ‘frozen’ our sponsorship program at this number.  This is simply an issue of logistics.  We run our program basically from our dining room table in Mississauga and a small desk in Kikima and we just don’t have any more ‘room’ on the table.  We have a number of people wishing to become sponsors who are on our waiting list and occasionally one sponsor leaves and that spot is filled from our waiting list.

We always try to provide sponsors with the same accountability we do to all people who make a donation.  This includes providing pictures to show letters, parcels, presents, parties and gatherings that they contributed to.  Most pictures go directly to the sponsors but we also like to provide a sampling of those below.  We have been most fortunate in that in all of the years of the program, only two parcels that were sent from abroad, did not arrive in Kikima.

Mwikali from Mavis

Mutua from Lorraine

Wanza from Jessica

Sarah from Lou-Anne

A present brought over for our sponsored child Mary

Christmas Clothing/Presents

As part of Christmas celebrations each of our children is given new clothing.  These outfits are not only welcomed but cherished by the children.

Because of Henry’s passing, the gifts were distributed later than usual.  We hope that all sponsors have received their photos; if you have not please let us know and we will look into it for you.  We thank the Creation of Hope team in Kenya who worked so hard to make this happen during such a difficult time.

Mutua from Teresa

Muthina from Barb

Theresia from Ken and Teresa

Yula from Judy

Baraka from Julia and Megan

Anastasia from Nick and Jack

Mutiwa and Angeline receiving their Christmas clothing from Melanie


January 2014 Update

New School

The children of grade school age who reside in our residence – Rolling Hills – have all attended the same school where Ruth and Henry’s children attended.  Over the years we have provided them with text books, school supplies, sports equipment, soccer and netball posts and constructed a library that is used by the school and community.  We had a longstanding partnership with the school.  However, sometimes partnerships need to be re-evaluated.

Many meetings were held between staff and school members as well as lengthy meeting involving the committee members in Kenya.  After much thought it was decided that it was time for a change to happen.

Starting this month – the new school year in Kenya – our children began to attend Mbooni County Primary School.  It is about the same distance – a walk of less than 2 kilometers – and in our small community many of our children already know – or are related – to children in the new school.

This school has a reputation as being very academically rigorous – the primary reason for the change.  We want our children – your children – given the best opportunities available.  Education is the key to their future success.  We have always committed to funding them for the best possible high school education and now we have extended that commitment ‘down’ through the first grade (Standard 1).

First Day of school

Ruth and Rev Phillip were in attendance as the children started and brought with them a new notebook and pen for every child in the school.  As always we hope to be an enriching part of this school and provide benefits to all the children in attendance.

You’ll recognize familiar faces wearing those new uniforms.  My wife says she isn’t so ‘fond’ of the brown colour but it certainly will wear well.  I wish I could have been there on that first day.  It’s now been six months since I’ve been in Kikima and I have to admit I’m feeling myself being called back more strongly with each day.

All of the supplies that were given to our ‘old’ school will remain there.  As well we will continue to maintain the Library – The Christena Gay Community Library – at the site of the old school.  Although, who knows what might evolve in the new school as well!

A Sad Passing

It’s with such great sadness that I must announce the death of one of the children in our program.  Faith contracted HIV at birth and has valiantly fought for her life.  She resided with her grandmother at the family homestead.  We provided her with monthly food distribution, blankets, beds, goats, uniforms and clothing, as well additional food supplements, retro-viral drugs, and the best medical care possible.  Despite all that she passed away after a brief sickness and hospitalization.  She is pictured below holding the picture of her two sponsors – Emily and Erin.  I contacted their mother, Marie, and she informed her daughters of this news.

jan4

Below is the announcement written by Kay.

jan5

Reading and writing this brings tears to my eyes.  I wish I could say that this will never happen again.  It will.  This year in Africa it is estimated that 1.5 million people will die of AIDS.  It’s so hard to understand that number because it’s so large.  I want you to think of it now as 1.5 million plus one who died.  Faith is the one.  She is not a number.  She was a little girl who I knew. She was loved.  She was no different than my daughters or yours.  She deserved better.  They all do.

We’ll all continue do our best and we appreciate the generous caring spirits of our sponsors and donors.

New website update

We have always operated a very basic website and have been so grateful to Lisa for all her work in establishing and maintaining and posting this.  Over the Christmas Break my wife, daughter Julia and I spent time to figure out how to update and reconfigure the website to reflect what we’re doing and to make it more ‘user friendly’.  It is now up and running because of Lisa and with assistance from another sponsor, Connor.  Of course you know this if you’re reading this update, but still, we needed to thank them!

Individual Donations

Martha Martin – Martha is the driving force behind the involvement of her school LaSalle P.S. in fundraising, but she also made a personal donation.  The money will be directed to Faith and Eric, two children whose education is supported by LaSalle.

Rachel – a student in Belle River gave a personal donation.  I am particularly touched when young people make that effort.  Great thanks to Rachel.

Jaime is a teacher at another one of our supportive schools – McKinnon P.S.  She made a donation to purchase the following things and asked that the donations be made in honor of the following people.  She will shortly receive the thank you pictures showing which child got which things.

Nathan – a chicken

Chelsea – a chicken

Sahanna – a blanket

Jorgie – a school uniform

My dear friend, Paul, and his partner Annie, donated money for a goat.  Paul is one of Canada’s most renowned film makers, and remarkably, even a better person.

Zoe – sponsor and aspiring writer – gave money for uniforms and saplings

Gunter and Tamara – friends from New Jersey – gave a generous donation.

Debbi Ritchie – great thanks for your donation.

Brooks McMillin –  this donation is from Carrollton TX!

Erica and Andris Rubenis – once again provided an incredibly generous donation.

Marcella is a teaching assistant and incredible photographer who – after watching a presentation made a donation.

In the coming weeks/months each of these people will receive a very personal thank you and see where their donation went.  In some cases the thank you picture has already been sent and is in this update as well!

Corporate Donations

Penguin Random House

One of my publishers provided an incredibly generous donation which has been applied to ongoing expenses in the program.  I love this picture!

East York-Scarborough Reading Association

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It’s wonderful when an organization dedicated to literacy reaches around the world to provide literacy in Kenya.  This money is being directed very specifically to the purchase of books.

Schools

From Kelly from Hammond Bay

Great news.  The students in grade 6 were doing a global citizenship unit and decided to do a fund raiser as part of it.  They chose to do a bake sale and sell cookies at recess for two days.   They sold the cookies for 50 cents.  As you can tell to raise the 249.50 they had to bake and sell 500 cookies.  The interesting part is so there are only 6 grade 6 students in my split class.  Yep, more than 80 cookies each were baked the night before.  They were so enthusiastic too, running around the playground soliciting for the sale.  It was wonderful to see.  We also posted something at our school and hopefully will encourage others to give to this non-profit organization.
Thank you so much for the photos, the students loved being able to see who they were helping,
Sincerely,
Kelly Payne

Vaughan Willard P.S. made a wonderful donation.  This was such a wonderful surprise given to me when I had the great fortune to present to these students.

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This included $300.00 from Student Council plus and additional $60.00 plus another $140.00 for a total of $500.00!  What a great school!

Thank You Signs

These are signs of thanks given in response to donations made over the past months.  Some are for specific items while others directed by our staff on the ground.

Okay, this one just makes me smile.  Christina is my oldest daughter and Marc her husband.  When they were there this summer Michael asked – very politely – if there was any way he could have soccer shoes.  Michael is quite the young man.  Bright in school, a wonderful athlete, tri-lingual, a leader and a kid with such a playful sense of humor.  His wish came true, thanks to Christina and Marc!

These blankets were paid for by children who came up to me at two different presentations and simply dug into their pockets and gave me money for a blanket. How’s that for inspiring! Nothing warms my heart as much – although the blankets they donated will do more than warm hearts.  Practical, important gifts that will help these children lead better lives.

Chickens change lives.

Goats

We don’t usually give away a lot of goats over the Christmas season because the price goes up but we did pass out a few.

In presentations I tell people how much I love goats.  I guess what I really love is the way that a donation changes the life of the child who gets it.

Daily Support

$75.00 provides funds to support the Rolling Hills Residence for 1 day.  That’s food for 52 children, routine medical care, school supplies, salaries for matron, caretaker, tutor, night watchman and cook, and the electricity, water and sanitation for the entire building.  These are the days supported by these people/schools.

Food Distribution

We give out food (and blankets, goats, lanterns, beds, tools) every month.  The vast majority of this comes from the donations of sponsors.  However there are always extra costs.  This is primarily because we are not just providing for our sponsored children but others in the family constellation.  We can’t simply provide food for that one child but try to provide enough that it can ‘stretch’ to other children.  Many of these are cousins who are orphans but those who might have one parent or, in some cases two.  In all cases all the children are in need of additional support in these homes.  We use addition donations to support the additional food distribution.

Sponsors

Our very generous sponsors often provide additional gifts for their sponsored child.  This could be mailed over or funds are donated.  Sometimes these are for special occasions such as  a birthday or Christmas but often just as an act of caring.

Chris from Jason

For Minoo from Emily

Jackson from Cliff and family

Rodah from Anja and Iris

For Faith from Michelle

Thanks for your attention and as always, the ongoing support that makes this all a reality!

Anita & Eric


December 2013 Update

It is with such great sadness that I have to pass on the news of the death of Henry Kyatha.  Henry – along with his wife Ruth – was the driving force in Kenya of the founding and operation of our program.  He was somebody I looked up to.  He was a caring person.  He was my friend and I will miss him tremendously.

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The funeral took place on December 27th.  His wife, four children, grandchildren, large extended family and a thousand other people gathered to pay tribute and celebrate his life.  He was a farmer, business man, community leader, elder in his church, and the father figure to all of the children in the program.  Henry will be so dearly missed.  We offer our thanks to those who reached out with support to the Kyatha family and the Walters during this difficult time.

Building

It has been a lengthy process to finally finish the new Rolling Hills Residence.  Below are pictures of the building that is home to 52 orphans and is the base of operations for our entire outreach program.

Viewed from the front, the first floor is our dining hall and kitchen, the second is the offices for the program and the two dorm rooms for the girls and the top floor is our conference room (which is rented out to the community for events and conferences) and a library for our children.

The open door leads into the dining hall.  The steps are separate and lead to the offices, conference room and library.

From the side the lowest green door leads to the dormitory for the younger boys.  The next level up is the residence for the older boys.  The windows above that are, on the left the kitchen, and on the right the dining hall.  The four windows on the top floor are the dorms for the younger and older girls.  The next two windows on that floor are the offices.  The separate partial floor that is the 4th floor is where the conference room and library is housed.

Individual donations

We want to acknowledge and thank the following people who made individual donations to support the program.  They will – or already have had – thank you pictures to indicate where their donations have been used.

  • Margriet and Kees  Ruurs
  • Steve Pitt
  • Fred  Dawber paid for importing fees on Gravity Lights
  • Wendy Leigh
  • Paula and Alan Cochrane for tuition for Purity
  • Lana at McKinnon for a blanket
  • Miranda for a blanket
  • Anita Davidson
  • Anton Volek – to support the ongoing maintenance of the Dawber Well
  • Jenifer and John Wilson
  • Hadley Dyer
  • Samantha
  • Glenn Marais
  • Marie Campbell and Bruce Cooper made a donation to help pay for the newly purchased vehicle.
  • Karen Danderfer
  • Betty Large and David Kirk
  • KM– 3 start-up kits for students going to high school.  Each student is expected to bring their own blankets, sheets, mattress, washing bowl, purchase uniforms, school supplies, and in some cases, the desk in their classroom
  • Jean Koziak
  • Hillary Dawson as a Christmas present for Elizabeth
  • Jessica and Rachel, in Mr. Rose’s class at Holly Meadows collected money which is doing to be put toward subsidizing the food distribution in January.
  • Proco Management made a very generous donation; its use  to be determined
  • A granny bag was purchased and a further donation made from Gosia
  • Eric and Pat Carlson
  • Kelsey Flannagan paid for tuition for Benjamin
  • Lynda made a donation for Christmas items to be purchased

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank so many sponsors who either made donations for Christmas presents or sent, by mail, presents to be delivered to their sponsored children.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While the December food distribution took place there was a delay in children receiving their Christmas presents due to the death of Henry.

Schools

Fairview P.S. remains one of our most dedicated ongoing supporters.  They raised $1001.85 which will be used to help purchase ‘start up’ kits for students entering grade 9 (Form 1) in late January and early February.

Hillcrest Middle School in Coquitlam B.C. raised $437 by holding a unique literary event.

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Two months in a row our kind friends in Whitehorse at Jack Hulland Elementary School have made generous donations.  The second was for a sum of $949.00.  Our dining hall, The Whitehorse Room, is named in their honor for the funds they have raised in previous years.

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Once again we will first direct these funds to the dining area, making sure that any new chairs or tables will be purchased and perhaps a new coat of paint might be applied to keep the hall looking beautiful!

St. Anne C.S. in Kitchener, under the direction of Cathy Renda donated $500.00 which will be directed to daily support of The Rolling Hills Residence.

Clarkson Secondary – The students of ENG 1DO – B under the guidance of Lynne Mark raised funds that are being used for daily support.

St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School in Oakville donated $750.00.  They also donated a sock-monkey named Millie who will soon be in the hands of one of our orphans.

Immaculata High School raised money for Creation of Hope through the sales of popcorn.  Here is a link to their project.  http://ocsb.ca/good-news-blog/853-immaculata-charity-popcorn

Mckinnon Public School made a donation of $385.55

Hope Springs

Last summer we opened a new water project – Hope Springs.  Here are some recent pictures.

Thank you Signs


Baking Program

This is Redempta working on cakes.  We have one of the only ovens in the whole district and we have been utilizing it for our own children but also to raise money for the program.  Redempta and our cook have been baking and selling cakes, cookies and muffins to community stores and schools.  The money is then used for the ongoing needs of the program.

Often they produce wedding cakes such as these

Below are cakes made for the birthday of Sarah – paid for by her sponsor – Lou-Anne Peroff.

Of course birthdays have more than just cake.  They were given their favourite meal – rice pilau  (a mixture of rice with vegis, beef and a delicious combination of spices) – something that Ruth personally makes for birthdays.

Cadet Graduation

Our children are involved in activities in their schools, church and community.  Here are our graduates from Cadets in their uniforms.

You might notice that cake – and our wonderful oven – are once again contributing to the ceremony.

We wish you all a safe and healthy New Year and look forward to working together in 2014. May peace and love be with us all.


November 2013 Update

It’s arrived! We have a vehicle!

You can see how happy and excited our children are.

Our 14 passenger van came all the way from Japan. It was ‘lightly’ used, has just over 10,000 kilometers and was purchased for just over $18,000 Canadian. This money was donated from a number of generous sponsors and other contributors and they will be receiving personal thank you correspondence. In addition the van will be painted with signage to acknowledge their contribution.

Still to come, the vehicle will be equipped with a roof rack to transport the numerous large items – such as beds and livestock – that are part of our monthly food distribution.

With this purchase we will no longer need to rely on Henry and Ruth’s very, very old car and truck. I keep being told – and then forgetting – the actual age of these old vehicles . . . it’s something like 31 and 35 years old.

While a newly paved road is snaking its way to Kikima and we hope will be finished this year, the remaining roads can only be described as being beyond awful. Think of the worst road you have ever been on and then make it much, much worse. Those are the roads our new vehicle will travel on a daily basis as it brings our children to medical appointments, meetings, transports goods to the orphanage and items out to our monthly food distribution (2.2 metric tons of food plus goats, chickens, beds, blankets, tools and assorted other items).

Not only will our children be safer but there will no longer be a transportation cost for the trips and for distribution days. Prior to this we have had to rent a matatu. This is one more big step toward self-sufficiency! Thanks to all our sponsors and donors!

University of Guelph and the Granny Bags

We purchase handmade bags from the grandmothers of our orphans. We pay them slightly above market rate. For many of these grandmothers the money given for one bag can almost double their income for that month. We then have volunteers bring them back and we sell them here in Canada at an increased price. All of the money – 100% – goes directly back to the program.

Julia, Janelle, Lily, George and Connor decided to try to sell some of the bags at the university. The results were incredibly successful – and pretty amusing can be seen in this video which was filmed and edited by Connor. In this video you can see how they raised $500.00!

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We have a dozen granny bags left. If anyone is interested in purchasing one please contact Anita Walters at anitaawalters@gmail and hopefully we can do business!

Fitness Donation

Lisa Farlow takes care of our website. She is a sponsor and also did a three month volunteer placement in Kikima. Lisa has a certain persistent determination to all of her endeavors and has become quite involved with Crossfit. She decided to combine her new activity with her ongoing passion to help. Here is her write-up.

In October I participated in CF24, a fundraising activity of 24 Crossfit workouts in 24 hours. I was on a team of three with my friends Jalene Anderson and Matt Baron. We could divide the workout between the three of us, but we all had to do some of every workout. Here’s an example, the 23rd workout (done at 8 in the morning after a night of little rest!):

20 push presses (75 lbs for men or 45lbs for women)
30 kettlebell swings (53lbs for men or 44lbs for women)
40 thrusters (75/45kbs)
50 box jumps (24/20 inches)
60 double unders (a skipping move; the jump rope must go around you twice per jump)
50 box jumps
40 thrusters
30 kettlebell swings
20 push presses

It was all exhausting and every part of my body was sore for days! I was glad to have my teammates and to know that I was working to raise money for an important reason. I had an unbelievable amount of support from my friends and family, and would like to thank Lisa Amerongen, Ammneh Azeim, Shawn Barlett, Kajal Below, Heidi Bergstrom (who also came at midnight with treats and cheering!), Katherine Boyes, Alison Brooks-Starks, Laura and Jeremiah Derksen, Chrissie and Sean DeWitt, Lindsay Farlow, Tim and Barb Farlow, Gillian Gutenberg, Warren Keen, Brianna Klemm, Carrie Maiorano, Sarah Mattiello, Yvonne Shek, and Robert Stainton for their generous donations. Eric and Anita also made a donation bringing my total funds raised to $950. I’ve been involved with Creation of Hope in some capacity or another since 2009, and it just felt so wonderful to have friends join me in gathering some funds to help some of our Kenyan students be able to continue to attend school. Thank you so much!

School Donations

Quinte Secondary School donated $70.00 to be used to purchase a goat and for other items to be decided by our team in Kenya. The school will receive pictures to show what their money was used for.

In addition a teacher at Quinte – Susan Cooper – provided money for a goat and a solar lamp. She will soon receive a picture showing the child who received the goat and the child who received the solar lamp.

Immaculata High School in Ottawa – primarily through popcorn sales and some parental donations – under the direction of Darlene Charron, raised $676.75! These funds are being used to support the Rolling Hills Residence for 9 days!

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St. Pius X High School made a donation of $253.05 which is being used to support the Rolling Hills Residence for 3 days and the remainder put toward a food distribution day subsidy.

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In addition a teacher at St. Pius X – Ivana Etro – made a donation which will be used to provide support for The Rolling Hills Residence for 4 days.

Jessica and Rachel, in Mr. Rose’s class at Holly Meadows collected money – $26.37 – which is going to be put toward subsidizing the food distribution in January.

Please read about a donation from Jack Hulland School – warm hearts in the far north of Canada in Whitehorse!

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These funds will be used to pay for 8 days of support for The Rolling Hills Residence.

Private donations

A young man and student in LaSalle Ont.– Jordan Penner – generously donated money that will purchase a chicken and a blanket.

Bob and Linda Ford made a Christmas donation for their friend Sharon Freeman Dan Bar-el made a generous donation to purchase two goats and two chickens in the coming year.

Miriam has again made a donation to purchase two more goats

My grade 5 teacher, Miss Christena Gay, told me she thought I could be a writer when I grow up. Of course I figured I was going to be in the NBA. One of us was wrong. She was an inspiration for me and remains an inspiration. She just made an incredibly generous donation to the program. We’re putting this money aside with consideration to it being used for a large scale project. We will keep all of you – and her – updated as this potential project moves forward.

Book Launch contributed by Anita Walters

On November 19th Tundra Books, my husband Eric Walters and illustrator Eugenie Fernandes, launched their collaborative picture book “My Name is Blessing” at Bar Italia on College Street in Toronto. The evening not only introduced this picture book, which tells the touching story of a boy named Baraka who lives at the Creation of Hope residence, but also raised funds for the project by selling granny bags, African crafts and all Eugenie’s original art work from the book.

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The evening was a huge success! Those who attended included friends, family, educators, publishing personnel and over 20 Creation of Hope sponsors with their family and friends!

With a variety of pictures and video clips to help share the story, Eric told a tear jerking version of Baraka’s journey and also told about the Creation of Hope project. Food, drink, and conversation flowed generously. And best of all, the evening raised funds that will be used, among other operational expenses, towards sending orphans and needy students to high school starting in January.

Thank you to all those in attendance who supported both the book and Creation of Hope so generously. It was an evening to be celebrated and remembered.

If you would like to meet Baraka introducing the book at the launch, here is the video for your viewing pleasure:

Daily Support Pictures

$75.00 provides one day of support for the entire Rolling Hills Residence – food for 52 children, routine medical care, school supplies, the salaries of the tutor, cook, night watchman, matron and caretaker, and the electricity, sanitation and water for the whole building.

A thank you for the students at Stride for a donation

Sharon provided a donation for all of her friends as a Christmas donation. This money will be put toward a food distribution day subsidy in the coming year.

These solar lights are part of a big push we’re making to replace kerosene lanterns for our orphans. Kerosene – aside from having to be constantly purchased – is rather toxic as it burns.

We are also very proud to say that we are involved in a new pilot project – one of a few selected  sites across the planet – to test ‘gravity lights’. These lights are fueled not by solar but by a weight. The weight is lifted and as it slowly drops over a thirty minute period it provides light.

Sponsors

Our sponsors have been generously making donations for Christmas presents for their sponsored child(ren). These are being purchased now and will be given out in December with pictures sent back to the sponsors.

Thank you to all those who responded to the request and sent in funds that are being used for gifts not only for the sponsored children, but something also for their siblings and cousins and a Christmas celebration and meal for all those attending. The day of the grand Christmas party is December 14th and Ruth and Kay and all the Hope staff have worked very hard to organize, assemble, purchase, distribute and prepare for such an enormous celebration – over 300 for sure!

Finally, what better way to celebrate the joys of the Christmas season, than to be able to share with others and make this world a better place for all? We thank all our regular sponsors and supporters and all those who have contributed in special fund raising efforts to make such a large contribution impact on the Creation of Hope project. We wish you a joyful Christmas and holiday season and health, well-being and a generous spirit in the year ahead!

Sincerely,

Anita and Eric Walters