Feeding programs- our feeding programs have developed to the stage where we feed 1800 kids every school day, at seven different schools. Some kids are fed twice a day, i.e. breakfast and lunch, while one or two schools are only fed lunch. In the past 12 months, we have been fortunate to be able to feed approximately 800,000 meals to kids that otherwise would be hungry. It is the parents or guardian’s responsibility to work the crops which we grow the inputs for the feeding program.
However, sometimes the envious and threatened political opponents convince the parents and guardians that the Canadians have lots of money, that they should not have to be working the fields. Our project team in Mikinduri must then step in to correct this interruption, which sometimes requires the cancellation of the feeding program at one or two schools, until the parents fulfill their agreed upon responsibilities. The parents and guardians cannot be blamed for their lack of consistency, because they are susceptible to government interference, simply because they are so poor, and must fall in line with government, in case there is a possibility of some handouts. Our team does a great job of helping them realize how they have been misdirected by deceitful local government representatives.
Feeding programs are critical to the education of the child for several reasons. First of all, if it were not for the child being fed at school, many of them will go home at lunchtime and not return, thus they don’t go very far in school. Headmasters tell us the great impact that the nutritious meals have on their ability to learn, as well as their social development. Obviously, if a student has an aching empty belly it is very difficult to concentrate, or run around and play sports.
Feeding programs do far more than simply provide a nutritious meal. They actually give the children a better chance at finishing school, which then means that they have learned basic math, reading and communication skills sufficient to be able to navigate through life, far better than their mostly illiterate parents.
Children being fed at Thurri Mountain School in their new Cow's T,shirts
Project oversight- Because I am trying to step back from my daily commitment of overseeing our work in Mikinduri, and because I will not be traveling to Kenya in the forseeable future, it was important that the MCOH Bd of Directors, go through a process of re-evaluation and assessment.
Detry Carragher, owner of Carvo Group, a PEI based HR firm, volunteered many hours over a period of months to lead us through an organized, strategic process of evaluation, analysis and critical planning, so as to guarantee that MCOH will remain sustainable. Detry did a wonderful job of guiding us through the process, with expertise, effectiveness and efficiency, the net result of which is an updated and renewed strategy for guaranteeing sustainability.
One of the outcomes of that process was some tweeking of the structure of our organization in Kenya, which is responsible for implementing our various projects.
To that end, we have contracted the services of a dear friend and trusted colleague, Mr Benard Mware. Not only is Benard a native Kenyan, he is highly educated, skilled, and motivated to help us reach the maximum number of disadvantaged people, with efficiency, and minimal expense. Dr. Ed Harrison, I and others have been associated with Bernard for several years in various capacities, and can attest to his abilities, effectiveness and level of caring. Additionally, he has already done a significan amount of work with our partners in MIkinduri, so has developed a profile of trust and effectiveness.
Since I will not actually be visiting Mikinduri and able to view our programs and projects firsthand it is virtually impossible to be an effective project coordinator. Thus, Bernard will be taking over my responsibilities and will be acting as International Liaison, between myself and our Mik staff and Board. Essentially this means that he will be responsible for working with our Mikinduri team, overseeing all of their efforts to deliver the best programs and projects possible for our fund raised dollars. I am looking forward to seeing our projects prosper during 2016.
Fundraising - Without effective fundraising, our work in Kenya would suffer significant setbacks. Thus our fundraising committee must be constantly endeavoring to find ways of establishing sustainable sources of funds.
Value village- Over the past two or three years we have been fortunate to develop a great working relationship with this socially conscious corporation. They have been a major sponsor of our Gigantic Yard Sale at the East Link Center in Charlottetown for the past two years.
Additionally, we are fortunate to be to sign a contract with Value Village, whereby they will pay MCOH, as well as continue to pay Canadian Diabetes Association for every pound of clothing that we can collect, as well as small household goods and appliances, for example toasters, countertop ovens, books, and toys.
During 2015, we partnered with Value Village, as well as some other great partners on PEI, such as the WOHELO group of ladies who support the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and the Knights of Columbus especially the St. Francis of Assisi Council in Cornwall lead by Basil Favaro Grand Knight, as well as at the Burnside Presbyterian Church and the West River United Church in Cornwall. During 2016, it is our hope to expand our scope of collection to many other island churches, and community groups, who can play a role in collecting the items which we can prosper from.
This project is a win-win for all parties, because everyone has clothing that no longer fit, or don't suit anymore, and which cost nothing to donate, yet MCOH benefits. If your church or community group would be interested in supporting us, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Kids promoting our clothing drive from Mik A portion of our goods for sale at our Gigantic yard sale
Gigantic Yard Sale - One of our mainstays of fundraising is our annual spring Gigantic Yard Sale, which takes place at the East link center in Charlottetown. Every year we have well over 200 tables covered with all kinds of "gently used" donated items. The sale will be taking place on Sat, May 7.
Donations We are extremely blessed with a wonderful group of volunteers who support this project in such an generous way. Thank you so much gang.
If anyone has items to donate, such items as furniture, antiques, fancy , hardware, books, toys,sporting goods, electronics, gardening items, etc, please contact Mr. Lew Black, our incredibly generous pickup coordinator, at 902-569-1924. He will arrange a time to pick up your donated items and store them in the containers, which have been donated by Superior Sanitation in Charlottetown. Please note, we can not accept baby furniture, tires, or televisions. Anyone wishimh to volunteer may contact Karen McKernna at 902-887-2417, or email email@example.com.
One might be tempted to assume, because I am stepping back somewhat, that MCOH will be less motivated to serve the people in Kenya. This will not be the case at all for two reasons: 1) I will be continuing my duties as fundraising director, working with our very dedicated fundraising committee, and our incredible donors, to make sure all of our projects can not only be sustainable into the future, but irather expand to serve even more people. 2) Far more importantly, I have been getting far too much credit and attention, since the outset, for being the mainstay of our organization. Please know that MCOH consists of so many more wonderfully dedicated and committed people, serving on our various committees, and Bd of Directors, not to mention, the fact that the Good Lord is guiding our destiny as he has done from the beginning This is His project as it has been since the beginning, thus. we believe our future is ever expanding and secure.
It is hard to believe, that we have sent approximately $1 million to our projects in Mikinduri. Often, I have people ask me if our work over the past 13 years is making a difference. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that many, many desperate people have benefited from our programs and projects. In fact, the village of Mikinduri and area, has been transformed into a much more advanced and prosperous village, with better communication systems, paved roads, much more attention from government in terms of funding local projects, as well as the increase in commercial enterprises such as Credit Unions and activities in the form of new businesses such as hotels, small manufacturing companies, expanded markets, and improved schools.
Please know that your generosity and kindness has made a huge difference.
In closing, I would like to sincerely thank all of our great volunteers, the various churches that support our work, including the Burnside Presbyterian Church, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, West River United Church, and All Souls Catholic Church in Cardigan. A special thanks to the Knights of Columbus who have taken on the role of coordinating our Clothing drive on PEI in the Cathloic churches As well, the Alderwood United Church in Mississauga, Ont, which has been a solid supporter for the past five years conducting annual fundraising events, with leadership from Cheri, Cindy and Tracy Butt. Thank you and Pastor Connie so much for your dedication.
Anyone having comments, concerns, or suggestion, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All input is welcomed.
I know that I will have missed thanking special people and organizations, which I apologize in advance for.
Have a wonderful 2016
President and Fundraising Chair