Alderwood United Church helping the people of Mikinduri help themselves

News Mar 31, 2014 by Cynthia Reason Etobicoke Guardian

In a remote Kenyan village more than 12,200 kilometres away is a community that has been forever changed by the kindness of the congregation at Alderwood United Church.

Located a three-and-a-half hour drive northeast of Nairobi, Mikinduri is a small, poor community where just six years ago, some children were so malnourished they were registering well below the growth standard on charts designed for Third World countries, said Cheri Butt, an Alderwood United congregant who has been traveling there every year since 2009 to volunteer with PEI-based charity Mikinduri Children of Hope.

“When we first went there, they were starving,” Butt said, noting she and sisters Tracy and Cindy were the first from Alderwood United to take part in the mission trip six years ago.

“Right away, we started up a feeding centre, so every time I go back now, the kids look healthier and healthier. It’s the changes and the improvements that I see each year that makes it such a rewarding experience and keeps me going back.”

When Butt returned from that first trip with her sisters in 2009 and shared the experience with fellow churchgoers, she was blown away by the positive support they got in response.

Butt has also successfully recruited church volunteers such as George Thackray and Catherine Mitchell-Bailey to participate in Mikinduri Children of Hope’s annual February mission to conduct medical, vision and dental clinics in the east African village. Alderwood United, in addition, has also successfully coordinated a series of annual fundraisers the last four years.

The first fundraiser – a dinner and silent auction – raised upwards of $3,000, while last year’s community bazaar raised more than $6,500 between proceeds and donations.

With that money, Alderwood United has not only helped fund the local feeding centre for the last two years, but also built a classroom to help the children of Mikinduri continue with their education.

Butt said since her first trip to Mikinduri in 2009, registration for the local school’s Class 8 (equivalent to Grade 8 in Canada) has grown from just one student to more than 70 – and that’s thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Alderwood United and other Mikinduri Children of Hope donors who helped fund the rebuilding of the school.

For Mitchell-Bailey, a Lanor JMS teacher who accompanied Butt on this year’s mission trip, seeing so many children so eager to learn despite their sometimes dire living situations was a sight to behold.

“I saw this one little boy with just a nub of a pencil attached with string to his shirt, like it was his most prized possession,” she said of the experience. “That was pretty special to see.”

But it was a chance encounter with 19-year-old Charity that really opened Mitchell-Bailey’s eyes to the harsh reality facing those living with challenges in Mikinduri.

Midway through their Feb. 12 to March 5 mission trip, Mitchell-Bailey asked if she could join Butt in the Mikinduri Children of Hope’s vision clinic after helping to run the dental clinic for nearly nine days, during which time she and her fellow volunteers oversaw more than 2,500 tooth extractions.

“It was really serendipitous. I just happened to work that one day in the vision clinic when she walked in. I met her, fell in love with her, and am now sponsoring her through a group called Chalice,” Mitchell-Bailey said of Charity, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome who she initially mistook for a 10 year old because she was “quite tiny.”

“Kids like Charity who are challenged are basically hidden away, so they don’t get to go to school – but now, though Chalice and the sponsorship, that’s changed for her. It’s so thrilling to me that she gets to go to school.”

Charity isn’t the only child from Mikinduri whose life has been brightened by an Alderwood United sponsorship, either. Marjorie Babcock sponsors a little boy named Kennedy, while Butt takes time each year to visit with her sponsor daughter Justa.

What Butt appreciates most about Mikinduri Children of Hope is that it’s not about handouts, but lending people a helping hand-up.

“It’s all about helping them help themselves,” she said, adding that everyone who receives medical, dental or vision care at Mikinduri’s annual nine-day clinic pays a token fee that amounts to about $1 Canadian – a charge implemented just three years ago after patients expressed a desire to contribute to the costs of their own care.

“Also on the medical side, Mikinduri helps people get insurance so their needs are covered. And with the agriculture projects and feeding centres, it’s the parents of the children benefitting that grow the crops for their kids to eat – and, in turn, they get to take some of seedlings home to grow for their own use.

“So it’s really all about them looking out for each other and creating a huge sense of community.”

And at the vision clinic, where Butt has spent the bulk of her time volunteering these past six years, the difference Mikinduri makes is clearly visible – literally.

“The first time you see someone who can now see, whereas they couldn’t when they walked in the door, it’s incredible,” she said. “The look on their faces, the smiles, the tears. I can’t even describe it. It’s just incredible.”

In addition to its annual medical missions – which served 6,350 people in 2013 – Mikinduri Children of Hope also runs several feeding projects; has overseen several water projects; has built a community centre; supports agricultural, food, shelter and medical projects in the local community; and provides education and training as part of all its initiatives.

To learn more about the charity’s projects, or to sign up as a volunteer or donor, go to www.mikinduri.com

Alderwood United Church helping the people of Mikinduri help themselves

News Mar 31, 2014 by Cynthia Reason Etobicoke Guardian

In a remote Kenyan village more than 12,200 kilometres away is a community that has been forever changed by the kindness of the congregation at Alderwood United Church.

Located a three-and-a-half hour drive northeast of Nairobi, Mikinduri is a small, poor community where just six years ago, some children were so malnourished they were registering well below the growth standard on charts designed for Third World countries, said Cheri Butt, an Alderwood United congregant who has been traveling there every year since 2009 to volunteer with PEI-based charity Mikinduri Children of Hope.

“When we first went there, they were starving,” Butt said, noting she and sisters Tracy and Cindy were the first from Alderwood United to take part in the mission trip six years ago.

“Right away, we started up a feeding centre, so every time I go back now, the kids look healthier and healthier. It’s the changes and the improvements that I see each year that makes it such a rewarding experience and keeps me going back.”

When Butt returned from that first trip with her sisters in 2009 and shared the experience with fellow churchgoers, she was blown away by the positive support they got in response.

Butt has also successfully recruited church volunteers such as George Thackray and Catherine Mitchell-Bailey to participate in Mikinduri Children of Hope’s annual February mission to conduct medical, vision and dental clinics in the east African village. Alderwood United, in addition, has also successfully coordinated a series of annual fundraisers the last four years.

The first fundraiser – a dinner and silent auction – raised upwards of $3,000, while last year’s community bazaar raised more than $6,500 between proceeds and donations.

With that money, Alderwood United has not only helped fund the local feeding centre for the last two years, but also built a classroom to help the children of Mikinduri continue with their education.

Butt said since her first trip to Mikinduri in 2009, registration for the local school’s Class 8 (equivalent to Grade 8 in Canada) has grown from just one student to more than 70 – and that’s thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Alderwood United and other Mikinduri Children of Hope donors who helped fund the rebuilding of the school.

For Mitchell-Bailey, a Lanor JMS teacher who accompanied Butt on this year’s mission trip, seeing so many children so eager to learn despite their sometimes dire living situations was a sight to behold.

“I saw this one little boy with just a nub of a pencil attached with string to his shirt, like it was his most prized possession,” she said of the experience. “That was pretty special to see.”

But it was a chance encounter with 19-year-old Charity that really opened Mitchell-Bailey’s eyes to the harsh reality facing those living with challenges in Mikinduri.

Midway through their Feb. 12 to March 5 mission trip, Mitchell-Bailey asked if she could join Butt in the Mikinduri Children of Hope’s vision clinic after helping to run the dental clinic for nearly nine days, during which time she and her fellow volunteers oversaw more than 2,500 tooth extractions.

“It was really serendipitous. I just happened to work that one day in the vision clinic when she walked in. I met her, fell in love with her, and am now sponsoring her through a group called Chalice,” Mitchell-Bailey said of Charity, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome who she initially mistook for a 10 year old because she was “quite tiny.”

“Kids like Charity who are challenged are basically hidden away, so they don’t get to go to school – but now, though Chalice and the sponsorship, that’s changed for her. It’s so thrilling to me that she gets to go to school.”

Charity isn’t the only child from Mikinduri whose life has been brightened by an Alderwood United sponsorship, either. Marjorie Babcock sponsors a little boy named Kennedy, while Butt takes time each year to visit with her sponsor daughter Justa.

What Butt appreciates most about Mikinduri Children of Hope is that it’s not about handouts, but lending people a helping hand-up.

“It’s all about helping them help themselves,” she said, adding that everyone who receives medical, dental or vision care at Mikinduri’s annual nine-day clinic pays a token fee that amounts to about $1 Canadian – a charge implemented just three years ago after patients expressed a desire to contribute to the costs of their own care.

“Also on the medical side, Mikinduri helps people get insurance so their needs are covered. And with the agriculture projects and feeding centres, it’s the parents of the children benefitting that grow the crops for their kids to eat – and, in turn, they get to take some of seedlings home to grow for their own use.

“So it’s really all about them looking out for each other and creating a huge sense of community.”

And at the vision clinic, where Butt has spent the bulk of her time volunteering these past six years, the difference Mikinduri makes is clearly visible – literally.

“The first time you see someone who can now see, whereas they couldn’t when they walked in the door, it’s incredible,” she said. “The look on their faces, the smiles, the tears. I can’t even describe it. It’s just incredible.”

In addition to its annual medical missions – which served 6,350 people in 2013 – Mikinduri Children of Hope also runs several feeding projects; has overseen several water projects; has built a community centre; supports agricultural, food, shelter and medical projects in the local community; and provides education and training as part of all its initiatives.

To learn more about the charity’s projects, or to sign up as a volunteer or donor, go to www.mikinduri.com

Alderwood United Church helping the people of Mikinduri help themselves

News Mar 31, 2014 by Cynthia Reason Etobicoke Guardian

In a remote Kenyan village more than 12,200 kilometres away is a community that has been forever changed by the kindness of the congregation at Alderwood United Church.

Located a three-and-a-half hour drive northeast of Nairobi, Mikinduri is a small, poor community where just six years ago, some children were so malnourished they were registering well below the growth standard on charts designed for Third World countries, said Cheri Butt, an Alderwood United congregant who has been traveling there every year since 2009 to volunteer with PEI-based charity Mikinduri Children of Hope.

“When we first went there, they were starving,” Butt said, noting she and sisters Tracy and Cindy were the first from Alderwood United to take part in the mission trip six years ago.

“Right away, we started up a feeding centre, so every time I go back now, the kids look healthier and healthier. It’s the changes and the improvements that I see each year that makes it such a rewarding experience and keeps me going back.”

When Butt returned from that first trip with her sisters in 2009 and shared the experience with fellow churchgoers, she was blown away by the positive support they got in response.

Butt has also successfully recruited church volunteers such as George Thackray and Catherine Mitchell-Bailey to participate in Mikinduri Children of Hope’s annual February mission to conduct medical, vision and dental clinics in the east African village. Alderwood United, in addition, has also successfully coordinated a series of annual fundraisers the last four years.

The first fundraiser – a dinner and silent auction – raised upwards of $3,000, while last year’s community bazaar raised more than $6,500 between proceeds and donations.

With that money, Alderwood United has not only helped fund the local feeding centre for the last two years, but also built a classroom to help the children of Mikinduri continue with their education.

Butt said since her first trip to Mikinduri in 2009, registration for the local school’s Class 8 (equivalent to Grade 8 in Canada) has grown from just one student to more than 70 – and that’s thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Alderwood United and other Mikinduri Children of Hope donors who helped fund the rebuilding of the school.

For Mitchell-Bailey, a Lanor JMS teacher who accompanied Butt on this year’s mission trip, seeing so many children so eager to learn despite their sometimes dire living situations was a sight to behold.

“I saw this one little boy with just a nub of a pencil attached with string to his shirt, like it was his most prized possession,” she said of the experience. “That was pretty special to see.”

But it was a chance encounter with 19-year-old Charity that really opened Mitchell-Bailey’s eyes to the harsh reality facing those living with challenges in Mikinduri.

Midway through their Feb. 12 to March 5 mission trip, Mitchell-Bailey asked if she could join Butt in the Mikinduri Children of Hope’s vision clinic after helping to run the dental clinic for nearly nine days, during which time she and her fellow volunteers oversaw more than 2,500 tooth extractions.

“It was really serendipitous. I just happened to work that one day in the vision clinic when she walked in. I met her, fell in love with her, and am now sponsoring her through a group called Chalice,” Mitchell-Bailey said of Charity, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome who she initially mistook for a 10 year old because she was “quite tiny.”

“Kids like Charity who are challenged are basically hidden away, so they don’t get to go to school – but now, though Chalice and the sponsorship, that’s changed for her. It’s so thrilling to me that she gets to go to school.”

Charity isn’t the only child from Mikinduri whose life has been brightened by an Alderwood United sponsorship, either. Marjorie Babcock sponsors a little boy named Kennedy, while Butt takes time each year to visit with her sponsor daughter Justa.

What Butt appreciates most about Mikinduri Children of Hope is that it’s not about handouts, but lending people a helping hand-up.

“It’s all about helping them help themselves,” she said, adding that everyone who receives medical, dental or vision care at Mikinduri’s annual nine-day clinic pays a token fee that amounts to about $1 Canadian – a charge implemented just three years ago after patients expressed a desire to contribute to the costs of their own care.

“Also on the medical side, Mikinduri helps people get insurance so their needs are covered. And with the agriculture projects and feeding centres, it’s the parents of the children benefitting that grow the crops for their kids to eat – and, in turn, they get to take some of seedlings home to grow for their own use.

“So it’s really all about them looking out for each other and creating a huge sense of community.”

And at the vision clinic, where Butt has spent the bulk of her time volunteering these past six years, the difference Mikinduri makes is clearly visible – literally.

“The first time you see someone who can now see, whereas they couldn’t when they walked in the door, it’s incredible,” she said. “The look on their faces, the smiles, the tears. I can’t even describe it. It’s just incredible.”

In addition to its annual medical missions – which served 6,350 people in 2013 – Mikinduri Children of Hope also runs several feeding projects; has overseen several water projects; has built a community centre; supports agricultural, food, shelter and medical projects in the local community; and provides education and training as part of all its initiatives.

To learn more about the charity’s projects, or to sign up as a volunteer or donor, go to www.mikinduri.com