I would like to wish you all a happy New Year full of blessings and prosperity. I want thank you also for what you have been to me and the St. Charles Lwanga children.
May you always be blessed.Thanks Br. John Kennedy
When ICW first met Brother Kennedy he said he could feed the students and some of the staff for $500 Canadian per month. The members of Inverness County Welcomes decided to try to help Brother Kennedy feed the students and formed a sub-committee called Inverness County Cares [ICC]. The group decided to commit $500 per month for one year. St. Stephen’s-Jubliee United Church in Port Hood generously donated $500, which started the ball rolling. The committee’s approach was to try to get 50 people to commit ten dollars per month for one year. Through the support of many kind people, the target was met and surpassed. This enabled the committee to increase the monthly contribution to $600 for food and $200 for water. The increase in the food budget was due to a slight increase in student enrollment and also permitted an improvement in the quality of the food purchased. The daily meals consist mainly of beans and corn [maize], but on Sundays they add a small amount of meat to the beans and corn. Water is a scarce commodity in Kenya and is expensive to purchase. Water is delivered by truck when road conditions permit and at times students have to carry water as far as three to six kilometers return (sometimes three times a day)in order to cook and wash.
Two Inverness County student groups took an interest in helping out their peers in a country far away. The SHOW (Students Helping our World) Committee of Dalbrae Academy, Mabou, Nova Scotia, Canada, organized a variety concert and raised over $1000. The students committed to pay $500 for one month’s food and with the remainder purchased a much needed and appreciated three-in-one photocopier/scanner/fax machine. Another local student group, the We Act Committee, from Dalbrae Academy as well, raised over $1100 by also holding a variety concert. These funds were used by Brother Kennedy to help complete the student library at the Children’s Centre.
ICC held a Pizza Party Sale in Port Hood as well as a yard sale to raise money for Brother Kennedy’s endeavors. A library building was constructed a year ago but the school didn’t have sufficient funds to build a roof on the building. ICC sent $3000 to erect the roof, install electricity and paint and plaster the room to make it ready for use. Brother Kennedy has reported to committee members that the library area, is one the most utilized facilities in the school. Here the students can enjoy an area of quiet and peace away from the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s largest cities.
ICC was able to run a temporary water line to the Children’s Centre from a nearby school, which is connected to the Nairobi municipal water supply. Now the children don’t have to haul water from a more distant source and they have almost constant access to safe drinking water. This temporary water supply has also permitted the students to grow a garden of which they are already enjoying the rewards. Unfortunately the Nairobi water supply is frequently shut down for various reasons. To address periods of time when the supply is interrupted, particularly in the dry season, the school requires the installation of three to four 10,000 liter water storage tanks.
Through the help of ICC a barber shop has been built on the Children’s Centre property, very near the gate, so students from the nearby school can get their hair cut as well as the students from The St Charles Lwanga school. The students are learning to cut hair and are earning a small amount of money for the school. A haircut costs 25 Kenya Shillings, which is approximately thirty cents Canadian.
While in Antigonish last year, Brother Kennedy spoke to members of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Martha. They were able to assist the students at the Charles Lwanga Children’s Centre by a very generous donation, which allowed for the purchase a reliable mini-van. This is used to take students for medical visits, for picking up bulk food (sacks of maize for meals) and for little outings to show students their own community, as many of the students have never been beyond a few city blocks of their home at the Children’s Centre.
There is so much poverty in Kenya, and most of the students at the Children’s Centre school don’t have parents who can afford to help educate them. The students have all been given a school uniform as this identifies them as students, not street kids. This change in appearance gives them respect, as they are now viewed as someone with a bright future, who can afford an education.
ICC very much wishes to thank the Dalbrae students, Inverness County residents and friends from across Canada, who have made it possible to help these students in a country so far away. We hope to help the school become self-sustaining in the future and we will continue to work with Brother Kennedy to help achieve measurable goals. We continue to appeal to those who wish to help by donating ten dollars a month or by making a yearly contribution, any donation is very much appreciated. Donations can be sent to, St. Andrew’s Parish Outreach Fund, P.O. Box #99, Judique, Nova Scotia, B0E1P0 or use the PayPal button on our web page and a tax receipt will be issued. Every dollar collected goes to the St Charles Lwanga Children’s Centre, all overhead expenses are paid for by the committee members.
Questions can be directed to John Gillies 902 787-3441, Coleen MacLeod 902 787-2251 or Mike Ojoleck 902 787-2645.