Monday, 11 March 2019

March Update!


Compass School is back in session and funds were sent for food for a lunch program - for some children it may be their only meal of the day. We are awaiting news from Henry Kagiri, the Member of the County Assembly for Compass School, to let us know when some of the property taken from the school will be returned so that we can purchase some playground equipment for the children.
Mathare Community Outreach in the Mathare Slum, where we visited the last two trips, requested funds to help rebuild the girls' and boys' dormitories and washrooms in their orphanage.  After repairing broken windows as well, the children feel more comfortable and safe in this environment with our assistance. We also sent funds to repair and replace desks and chairs for their classrooms. For the future, we are looking at helping to rebuild two classrooms. Classrooms have been damaged and destroyed when flooding occurred in the rainy season.

Tumaini Afrika members listen to Kenyans as to what the needs are with our projects, and do not tell them what WE think they need. To that end we provide a hands up, not a hand out. We assist Kenyans in helping themselves, and since education and health are so important, ensuring that children can receive an education and have proper nutrition to be able to learn is most important.

Many Tumaini Afrika members and some supporters, as well, privately sponsor children by paying their tuition and school supplies to attend elementary and high school. We are hopeful of making a long term improvement in each one's lives and they are so grateful for the opportunity!

Well, we are very pleased to let you know that our big fundraiser, A Taste of Kenya, held recently at the Water Tower Inn Pavilion, was a huge success! We had a sell out crowd who all thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful food prepared by Chef Todd (assisted by Chris), as well as the delectable dessert auction and fabulous musical entertainment! Special thanks to organizer, Jeannine Jefferson, dessert auction lead, Micheline Findlay, all Tumaini Afrika members, wonderful dessert bakers and Tracy White and the Water Tower staff! Thanks to Gabi Doleske, who sewed all of the beautiful African table runners for this event! And, of course, special thank you for the great entertainment, to vocalists Francine Giroux, Micheline Findlay and Jeannine Jefferson, and guitarists Steve Burgess and Vicki Ekstrom! Thanks to the dinner crowd, we raised over $6000, including over $2400 on the dessert auction alone! Can't thank you enough! Proceeds from the event will help build a new classroom in the Mathare Community Centre, as well as assist the children at Compass School.   
Sheena also sold 17 more goats to bring our total to 100.  These goats will be given out to young girls in Narok and Mbeere by our good friend, Mary Thamari, and pictures will be forthcoming! Carey Groot designed Days For Girls gift cards so that for $15 a kit, girls can attend school every day. Gabi, DFG lead, sold 13 cards for kits that night as well!  Our community and supporters are amazing! 
JJ Hilsinger and the Water Tower continue to be fabulous supporters of our group and the children in Kenya, and for that, the Tumaini Troopers, as he calls us, are very grateful! Many people have suggested we do this again next year and Chef Todd says he can do a new Kenyan menu! Stay tuned!

If you haven't visited The Ole Warehouse (formerly the Vintage Co-op) yet, you are missing a different shopping experience! Tumaini Afrika and Sequel (funds raised go to educate refugees in Thailand) share a booth and many other vendors sell very unique items that you won't find anywhere else. The Ole Warehouse is open on Saturdays from 10-4, and is located at 69 Church St. behind the Bushplane Museum in the old MNR building. Would love to see you there!

Recently Tumaini Afrika members were invited by Algoma University President, Asima Vezina, to come and meet some staff and student leaders and see how we might partner and offer some mentoring opportunities. We look forward to seeing where this initiative leads!

As well, Jeannine Jefferson and Holly Wickett gave a presentation to residents at Collegiate Heights Retirement Residence a few weeks ago. Many were very interested in what we do and one attender will be sewing for Days For Girls.

Supporter Carol Colombo, has found some amazing cardboard microscope kits that are being used to help in science programs in third world countries! Heather Douglas is returning to Kenya in April and will take these kits to Compass School and others, as she will teach Science classes to students there!  Heather's mother took us on our first trip to Kenya, and Heather's Aunt Lois is our tour leader in Kenya!

Our As Big As An Elephant Garage Sale, will take place again this year at St. Andrew's United Church Hall on June 8. If you have items to donate they can be dropped off at the church from 9-5 on June 6 and 7, or call Diane at 705-759-3418 or Holly at 705-542-7966 if you want to donate ahead of time. Please come to see the fabulous items at the sale, too!

After the last newsletter, many of you came forward to help sponsor students to attend high school. Flora, our sewing teacher/social worker at Compass Elementary School, has been thrilled that 7 students who would never have been able to be educated, are now in school! Thank you to those private donors who have helped so much and to Flora for doing all the work getting the students enrolled.

Days For Girls Lead and Tumaini Afrika member, Gabi Doleske, recently travelled to Tanzania where she worked with women at a few colleges, teaching them how to begin making sanitary kits so that they may have an enterprise of their own.  She was well received!

We are still waiting to hear from the Member of County Assembly, Henry Kagiri, who, on our last visit, promised to help the students at Compass School.  There are currently 70 students in the school but their playground is being used to house construction equipment.  A few of their classrooms have been taken over too. We are hoping that Henry will make sure that the equipment gets moved and the land and building restored, so that the children have a place to play.  We are planning on buying some playground equipment when the land comes back to the School.

We are planning a return trip to Kenya, to check on our projects and see the wonderful children and adults we have met and continue to keep in touch with, next year - likely February/March 2020.  The last trip cost each traveller about $7000 for 3 weeks, and this fluctuates according to our dollar value.  Each member pays privately for their trip and this includes air fare, accommodation and most meals, and travel by van with a driver while there. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Holly Wickett or Jeannine Jefferson -705-945-1042, or respond to this email.

Once again, we could not do the work we do without your support! Thank you so so much, on behalf of the children who benefit in Kenya!

Holly for Tumaini Afrika