December 2010 Update

I’ve just watched a part of a documentary that George Clooney has been a part of in his advocacy for peace in Sudan. While I have never been a “star-gazer”, I appreciate anyone that takes up a cause for the poor, especially in Africa. One thing that has stuck with me from this, besides the footage, is his message about preventing crisis. The world spends billions of dollars in the wake of disasters and wars when we could be avoiding crisis and save an incredible amount of money at the same time. If we had the foresight and concern before crisis happened, lives could be saved and our efforts made more efficient.

“If I told you that there was going to be an earthquake that would destroy 200,000 people, would you not do everything in your power both individually and globally to save those people? Sudan is not a natural disaster but a man-made disaster that can be avoided…We were too late in Rwanda. We were too late in Congo. We have a chance to avert a man-made disaster if we will only open our eyes and take action.”

In January 2011, the people of southern Sudan have the opportunity to vote on separation from the Arab North. This vote will undoubtedly stir the hornets nest in the North where the President wanted by the UN for genocide is ruling from. Many are saying that this vote will end in trouble for the “Christian” south.

So what does this have to do with ReACT and the work in Kenya? First of all, we are concerned for all of Africa, and especially the children of Africa, be it Kenya or neighboring Sudan, who have no voice. Second, we feel that our work in Kenya is not dissimilar and we see our reflection in the crisis of Sudan. Disaster for many of these children has already happened and continues to happen through disease, abuse and neglect. Most face personal crisis without intervention. Though the face of disaster is often hidden, the children facing various stigmas and handicaps in the countryside and urban areas would number in the hundreds of thousands. Our heart has been to search for and offer hope and a chance at an education and together with you, personal disaster is being avoided. With individuals like you, organizations like Transformed International and the work of our God, the forgotten children of Kenya have had a fresh start. In 2010, you helped over 100 children attend specialized schools for Deaf learning as well as other specialized schools.

We want to take this chance to thank the many people who have partnered with us and made this year a success. Our Kenyan partners, Transformed International (www.transformedinternational.org) are indispensable to the work with these children. Daniel, Sean and Meredith and their Kenyan team perform the required groundwork on a regular basis to ensure a steady connection with each child. We are incredibly grateful for their sacrifice and steady input into all of ReACT’s projects as they do all the ground work without any financial compensation. They simply carry a vision for this work and give voluntarily of their time and efforts. We are excited to spend a few days with Daniel at the end of January 2011 as he travels to Barrie after having been to his home in Reno for Christmas for the first time in 4 years. Without TI, the work of ReACT simply would not happen.

Many of you have followed our blog as well as our American friends, led by the Pollocks, that sacrificed incredibly to see the home of Martin and Ruth Shikuku relocated and re-built. This project simply amazed us as we saw 4 teams travel from various US locations to a rural location outside of Moi’s Bridge Kenya to transform a field into a safe and complete home for underprivileged children. All of the funds for this project were raised by this US team. A huge “thank you” goes out to all of you that gave beyond your capacity to see this home transformed.

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Barrie that raised the funds for beds, a seed-press project and the dug well for the new Shikuku Home.

We are grateful for the individuals and families that sacrificed and gave so that children could go to school for the first time. I have spoken to some who have worked extra shifts on a monthly basis specifically to sponsor children. Some have given in memory of others. Some have sacrificed little luxuries so that a child could have a fresh start. It amazes and inspires me when I talk to many of you! For $250 Canadian, you averted personal disaster for a year, providing books, uniform, room and board. Without you, we are limited.

For anyone wanting to sponsor a child for 2011, please note that in order to give a charitable receipt for 2010, we need to receive your donation no later than December 19th so that there is time to send it off to our main office in Woodstock for processing.

We are still working on improving our communication with you in the upcoming year. We feel that, like many things, our strength is also our weakness. We are pleased to say that 100% of your donation goes towards the sponsored child. Nothing is taken for any overhead. This is also our weakness and we are working to improve communication with you through our network of volunteers.

Who knows what God will do in 2011?! We are amazed at all that happened in 2010 and look forward with anticipation and hope to the new year. Who knows what personal disasters will be averted in the coming days…who can say what stories we will hear in another year’s time if we take action now before crisis occurs?