Swahili. Tumaini. Hope

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On Friday January 29th, 2016, a rockin’ good band, The Reptiles, kept a sold out crowd groovin’ at Grand Gardens, Dennis St., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. A Pub Night for Tumaini Afrika SSM, was the last big fundraising event for 5 women who are inching ever closer to March 13th, 2016. Jeannine Jefferson, Diane Hilderley, Sylvie Mackey , Sheree Wilson and Holly Wickett are heading to Kenya, Africa.

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The energy and goodwill for the women working so hard to bring so much to the children, in rural Kenya and Nairobi was evident in the Ball Room at Grand Gardens. Ticket purchasing was brisk for the impressive collection of items that could be won in a chance drawing, at the close of the evening. Everything on the tables was donated by individuals or businesses in the community. The women had information displays & projected images available for people to learn more about some of the initiatives currently underway with Tumaini Afrika.

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Retired school principal, Holly Wickett shared the following words with saultonline.

“Tumaini means hope in Swahili. Tumaini Afrika is a group of Sault Ste Marie based volunteers, some of whom have been to Africa and some who have not, but all deeply committed to helping children in Kenya! Our current projects include Compass School, a school for orphans and refugees on the outskirts of Nairobi, County Girls Caucus– a leadership and life skills program in rural Kenya, developed by a Kenyan woman, and Namuncha, a Maasai village located about 100 kilometres from Nairobi. Education is the focus of all of these initiatives.

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Our accomplishments to date include supplying much needed school supplies, bags of rice and beans and fruit for a lunch program, chicken coop and chickens, a generator and wiring so kids can see in the classroom, especially in the rainy season, a sewing teacher to teach a life skill, fees for 400 girls to be able to attend life changing workshops with County Girls Caucus, water tanks and fencing. A visiting American grad student wrote to say that most importantly we have brought “hope” with our assistance.

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We have also partnered with Days For Girls, SSM chapter, and will take 150 packages of sewn reusable sanitary products to distribute and educate about, so that girls can attend school every day. Several Sault schools have been involved with us in fundraising and pen palling!! Soo service clubs have been helpful as well as many individuals!!

A group of five of us, four retired teachers and a retired nurse head out for Kenya mid March to help out with these projects and learn more from these wonderful resilient people!!
Recently Micheline Findlay and Jeannine Jefferson, members of the 11 piece band, The Reptiles, offered to put on a fundraiser pub for us. It was a huge success and we are very grateful to the Reptiles and the community for their support!! All proceeds go to help the Kenyan children!

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Tumaini Afrika has been overwhelmed with the support of our community in all of their fundraising endeavours!”

The overall goal of Tumaini Afrika SSM, is to provide a breakfast and lunch program, as well as clean water, to 250 children aged 5 to 17 (145 boys, 105 girls) at the Compass School for orphans and refugees in Kikuyu, just outside of Nairobi Kenya. Tumaini Afrika SSM is dedicated to raising funds to give a “hands up” to children in Africa. 100% of donations go directly to help the children.

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The Retired Teachers of Ontario, District 3, have demonstrated a total show of support to Tumaini Afrika through a successful grant application. The following excerpt is from their website.

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‘RTO/ERO proudly operates a grant program for its 48 Districts, providing $100,000 to sponsor local community projects. Through Project – Service to Others (STO), Districts apply for individual projects that support local, national and international programs that often involve children and/or disadvantaged groups, to a maximum of $4,000 per project. A provincial committee of RTO/ERO assesses the merit of each Project – STO submission according to established criteria, including level of member and District participation in the project.RTO/ERO Local District 3 Algoma submitted Tumaini Afrika, the support of a Kenyan school of 250 children — a project spearheaded by retired educator Holly Wickett, and was accepted! This has provided Holly’s Kenyan school with the maximum donation of $4,000.00’

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Godspeed Holly, Sylvie, Jeannine, Diane, Sheree. Your friends at saultonline wish you all the best on this amazing journey to Africa. The estimated date for the quintet to return to Canada is early April,2016.

For more information & a picture gallery about Tumaini Hope for Kenya, visit this link http://www.rtoalgoma.com
‘Like’ the Tumaini Afrika SSM Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com
email: TumainiAfrikaSsm@gmail.com

“I shall pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet

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Lynne Brown
Algoma writer and reporter. Has written for special editions Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal. In the 80’s, Lynne worked for AutoTrader Magazine in rural Southwestern Ont. Trudging through farmers’ fields for a picture of a 56 Dodge Custom Royale was considered a very good day. Special interests include issues relating to rural life, seniors, travel, history, community development and indigenous peoples. email to lynne@superiormedia.ca Twitter: @dlynnebrown.