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Fall Newsletter 2016                                                       November 11th, 2016

Wow, it has been a busy year, with so much to try to include in this newsletter, without being too long and boring. Let me give it a try.
 

New beginnings & Days for Girls  

I am so excited to announce our newest project called “Days for Girls” sanitary hygiene kits. The problem that young female students face when they begin having their monthly’s is that of having no source of sanitary supplies, so they miss four or five days of school each month. After months of missing school, they fall behind and too often end up leaving school, to spend the rest of their lives in early marriages and doing menial work to survive. For more information about their struggles please visit www.daysforgirls.org. MCOH is partnering, as an Island team, with Days for Girls Int. (DFG) This organization was brought to my attention by Marion Jones from Saskatoon, who had learned about it and suggested that when the team traveled in February, 2016, they should bring some kits and present them at a school. Martin and the rest of the Mikinduri staff organized for a great day at one of the bigger schools. They invited head mistresses from other girl schools, local politicians and leaders, our MHCDO board, as well as the press. Marion sourced the 50 kits from a DFG team in Saskatoon, which were distributed on the resource day. When Angie Dennis, Marla Townshend, Sarah Bennett as well as Marion and her granddaughter, Maddie, came home from their mission trip, they were very excited and raving about the experience of spending several hours with the young female students, teaching them about, not only how to use and take care of the kits, but also about reproductive health and women’s rights.

Happy Recipients of
Days for Girls Hygiene Kits 
Team with girls at the DFG hand out gathering
As a result of our team's enthusiasm we decided to make this our newest project. I learned from Kathy Mutch, a dedicated MCOH volunteer and Kencan team member for several trips, that her mother was part of a Vernon River United Church seniors sewing group, led by Evelyn McQuaid. They were already making the kits,so upon meeting with Evelyn, we happily joined forces and decided to expand the kit making program across PEI.  At this point, we put together a special committee, very capably co-chaired by Gaylene Smith and Karen McKenna, along with members Michelle McQuaid, Shannon Moore, Barbara Henry, Emily Ross, Denise Bustard and myself. Our job is to spread the word about this special project in order to get more sewing groups involved, as well as to raise the necessary $20,000 required to buy the materials to reach our goal of making 500 kits before the February 1, 2017 Kencan mission departs, then another 500 kits by July 1st.  Gaylene and I did presentations to the Catholic women’s league annual convention, as well Gaylene did presentations to several Women’s Institute regional meetings.  Gaylene also worked very hard at getting other sewing groups involved from one end of PEI to the other. 
     
We are also very fortunate to have Suzanne Lane, who is the owner and operator of “Quilting Bee and More” in Charlottetown, join forces with us by offering her sewing room, and special machines to make the kits as well as donating materials. Fortunately, Suzanne had already made kits previously, so between Suzanne and Evelyn, they have taken on the responsibility for training the sewers, and making the kits. At this point in time we have approximately 20 dedicated women who are excited to be involved in making a difference to the young students in Kenya. 

Our fundraising efforts have been blessed, by having a local family donate $5000, so along with other funds we already have approximately $8000 raised. Only $12,000 to go.  Michelle, Shannon, Emily, Barb and Gaylene have been doing special fundraising projects including a walkathon, dodgeball and frisbee tournaments, and a clothing drive. It is wonderful to have these young ladies as part of our committee. Their youthful enthusiasm is delightful and so welcomed and appreciated.

We have already started planning to convert the sewing centre in Mikinduri over to manufacture DFG kits right in the village. Our plan, hopefully, is to sell the kits to women who can afford to pay, the profits from which will be used to make kits to distribute to the poor students. At the same time, we are able to provide much needed jobs for seamstresses in Mikinduri.

Lennie Gallant Fundraising Concert!

Charlottetown, November 17th
Through a series of fortuitous circumstances, we are so blessed to have famed island songwriter and entertainer Lennie Gallant, who recruited Catherine MacLellan and friends to put on a special fundraising concert to support Days for Girls.
When Lennie heard from myself about the hardships faced by young female students in the remote villages, he did not hesitate to offer his incredible talent to support our cause.

The concert is being held at the new Florence Simmons Performing Centre on Thursday, November 17th at 7:30. Ticket cost is $30, 100% of which will go to this project. To purchase tickets please go to www.ticketpro.ca or phone 1-888-311- 9090. 

Change of leadership in Mikinduri

Those of you who have had the opportunity to travel to Mikinduri will be disappointed to hear that our Program Dir. Martin Murithi, for personal family reasons, has decided to move to Nairobi, where he has taken accepted a position with another NGO. I know that all of you who have had the pleasure of knowing Martin will wish him the very best. He has directed all of our work since he joined us in 2011, and has done so with the highest level of integrity, dedication, and passion for the people we serve. Not only was Martin program Dir. but many of us consider him to be a great colleague and good friend, and I know that we will continue to be in communication, and perhaps even partner on future projects. God Bless you Martin as you take on new role of serving others. They are very lucky to have you.

New Prog Dir, Mr. Patrick Kirea
Martin’s replacement is Patrick Kirea, who has a lot of experience in community development work. Patrick was selected after a thorough vetting process by the Mikinduri Board of Directors, as well as our International Liason, Benard Mware.

Martin generously offered to remain in Mikinduri for the month of October, so that he could spend that time with Patrick, allowing him to get up to speed on our many projects without serious interruption. Thank you, Martin for your generosity. Patrick, we welcome you with open arms, and wish you the very best as you now carry the mantle of making all of our projects self-sustaining. Of course, you will have our full support in every way.

MCOH News

With the appointment of a new physician, Dr. Wainyoike, at the Mikinduri Hospital, and a new board of directors for the hospital we are optimistic that our Rehab program will be given new energy and direction and we will be able to serve many more persons with disabilities both in Mikinduri and in the outlying areas, through the outreach clinics. Several of our Mikinduri board members also sit on the hospital board, as does Dr. Wainyoike sit on our MHCDO board. In discussions with Benard, Dr. Wainyoike is pressing the government for new services and including, among other things, x-ray equipment. Let us hope that he is successful in his lobbying attempts.

MCOH Announcements

On PEI, we have some new board members to introduce. Before doing so however, we want to thank Libby Osgood for her tenure on the board as Kencan Dir. and trip leader. Great job Libby. As well, our accountant Janelle MacDonald has completed her tenure after having done a wonderful work of keeping all of our financial records in order. Thank you to both of you for your dedication and generosity.

It is my pleasure to welcome Gaylene Smith, who taught Dental Assistance program for many years at Holland College, as First V.P. Gaylene went to Mikinduri three years ago, and has been heavily engaged on PEI as a volunteer, serving on our yard sale committee, our newly formed DFG committee, and has been involved in all aspects of our many fundraising activities.

Isaac Townshend, an accountant, is replacing Janelle as our Treasurer. Isaac is with the firm Cameron Best and is already making his mark on our board.

Shannon Moore, serving as a director at large, is also new to our board. Shannon is a newly graduated teacher, and is heavily involved as Co-chair of our Special DFG fund raising committee, and doing a great job.

They join our existing BD members Dr Ed Harrison, Chair of our Community Based Healthcare committee, and Makenna Tarishia, member at large. So, welcome and thank you for your willingness to serve, helping us to move our projects forward. It is always exciting to have fresh brains with new ideas and commitment.

Sad News

Lew Black was a truly great volunteer for the past several years, playing a very special role year round, collecting most of the items that we would store until May of each year, when we would hold our “Gigantic Yard Sale”.

Lew Black was one of those people that never refused any request. He worked quietly behind the scenes travelling many miles, never looking for credit of any kind. He always had a smile on his face, which matched his pleasant, cheerful, and outgoing demeanour, which endeared him to so many of our volunteers. Because of his great spirit of true generosity, and the support of his dear wife Elaine and daughter Jacqueline, Lew’s efforts have made a huge difference in the lives of so many people in Kenya, even though he never got to go there. We have lost a dear friend and colleague. Lew passed away after a relatively short battle with cancer.

Fundraising

Our need for funds never diminishes, since we continue to add new programs, while expanding existing ones. For example, our feeding program is now in seven schools, serving approximately 3000 meals per school day. Can you believe that we are at a stage where we are actually serving more than one million meals a year. Obviously, there are only two ways that this can happen and that is because we have so many wonderful volunteers who continue to support our various fundraising events mostly here on PEI, but also in Saskatoon and Toronto. Secondly, we continue to enjoy the support of a wonderful group of “Angel donors”, who come to our aid year after year, whose names they don’t want me to mention. No words can adequately express how your support encourages us to keep going. As well, the PEI business community is so generous in their support of our work in so many ways. I would like to publicly thank some our larger supporters, Superior Sanitation Limited, The Guardian, CBC Radio and Television, Technomedia Limited, Kwik Kopy ltd, Value Village, Vector Aerospace, Stratford Rotary club, Vogue Optical, and Independent Save Easy in Cornwall for your ongoing generous support. Finally, a great big thank you to the various churches both here and in Toronto, and institutions that support our work, like the Catholic Women’s League, and the Women’s Institute. Thank you sooooooo much.

Some of our new fundraising efforts which we have engaged in over the past few months include:

  • “70 mile yard sale”, which takes place from Charlottetown eastward. After being approached by Denise Bustard, the sale organizers have agreed to have us be the recipient of all the unsold items at the hundreds of yard sales sites, which takes place each fall in late sept.
  • Dodgeball and Frisbee tournaments organized by Shannon Moore and Emily Ross.
  • Michelle McQuaid, organized a clothing drive, which raised hundred of dollars.
  • Our newest endeavor, managed by Denise Bustard, is in partnering with Superior Sanitation Ltd. in Charlottetown. The owner, Eddie Clark, has generously volunteered to have us place two large shipping containers on his recycling business property, which allows us to collect all kinds of used items, such as clothing, cloth materials, toys, sports equipment, furniture, books, pictures and so many more things. In fact, we are happy to receive everything except baby furniture, tires, tv’s, encyclopedias, mattresses and broken or damaged goods. When the container is full, it is delivered to Value Village, which pays us, per pound, for all items.

If you have items to donate, please take them to Superior Sanitation, on Mt Edward Rd, from 7 am to 5 pm any day except Sunday and place them in the shipping container, just inside the weigh scale gates. Your unwanted items will help us to expand our programs and projects. Pls help.

Scholarship program

Most people are aware that we have many ongoing programs and projects, which I will not take the time in this newsletter to review. However, I do want to draw your attention to our Scholarship Program. Currently we have approximately 30 students who are being supported through this critical program by individual donors.

However, there are many more students in very poor families that could use our financial support to help them finish their education. Our scholarship program provides the necessary funds for poor but deserving students, who wish to finish high school, attend a trade school, college or university.

The cost is approximately $600 per year per student. So, this appeal is to kindly ask for your support in sponsoring a needy student. Gaylene Smith is managing this program, and will be happy to provide you with written profiles of male and female students who are waiting for a sponsor. You then can pick the student that you may feel some emotional connection to. You will be able to communicate with your student as well as receive updates on their education progress. I have heard many times that a student who graduates and gets a decent job will end up supporting 13 people with such things as school fees, medical needs, even housing. So your generosity not only affects one person, but rather many.

2017 Kencan Mission Trip

Gaylene Smith is the trip leader, and is so excited about getting back to Mik especially to see her sponsor child Evelyn. This years trip will depart on Feb 1st for approx. 3 weeks, and amongst other initiatives, will focus on our new DFG project. Anyone wishing to explore the possibility can simply email me at tedandritagrant@gmail.com and I will happily send you an info kit. The cost will be a approx $4500 to $5000 depending on seat sales and USD exchange rates and of course is tax deductible. An amazing trip of a lifetime.

I always welcome your feedback positive or negative and look forward to receiving any ideas you may have for improving our charitable efforts. We are also delighted to have new donors and volunteers. Please visit our website at www.mikinduri.com for more news and information.

God Bless,

Ted Grant, President

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Mikinduri Children of Hope · 25 Waterview Dr · Cornwall, PE C0A1H4 · Canada

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