Congratulations Rachel!

  We’re very excited to have Rachel chosen for the Top 30 Under 30 Magazine from the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation. She has provided essential leadership, problem solving skills, creativity and initiative to ensure the success of Canadian Humanitarian and our programs in Africa. We’re glad she’s such an integral part of the team!


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Documentary Now Available to view Online

Recently a documentary was done about the work that Kids Hope Ethiopia and Canadian Humanitarian are doing in Africa. Originally released on Canadian Television, this documentary is now available to view online.

We hope you enjoy this documentary as much as we did!

Mobile device users please click here if the video screen does not show up below.

Canadian Humanitarian from Rick Castiglione on Vimeo.

Feel free to share this video with your friends on facebook, twitter, or wherever you like to share!

If you have any questions about the work we do, please contact:

Lyndon (Executive Director)
Heather (Program Coordinator)
Rachel (Sponsorship Coordinator)
Deb (Expedition Coordinator)

Beyond Belief 2014

Our annual dinner in Medicine Hat was a great event this year. Thank you to our Chapter members who worked so hard, and to all our sponsors for the evening. We couldn’t do this without you!

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Of course we want to thank Ted Jaleta for an amazing address on his professional life as a world-class runner and also his personal struggles living in and then having to escape from Ethiopia decades ago. 

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The silent auction was a huge success both because of the great bids that were received but also the many individuals and companies that donated the amazing items for this year.

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Medalta was again a beautiful backdrop for the event and Stan Sakamoto and Shooting Star Events Inc provided a delicious meal.

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Local musician Christie Jayne Kurpjuweit provided the music for the evening and did not disappoint! Very talented!
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Once again the social studies and leadership classes of Heather McCaig at Crescent Heights High School presented their winning ideas to improve the life of someone in Ethiopia with a $1000 grant.  The project will be implemented in March 2015 in Gindo, Ethiopia.

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Rick Castiglione was the MC for the evening and we thank him for coming all the way from Calgary to do such an amazing job.  We’re also excited to see his documentary that will air at Christmas time on CTV about Canadian Humanitarian!
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Dr. Richard Northcott, co-founder and local emergency room doctor, provided another great address about Canadian Humanitarian. 

The good people at Fresh – Flowers and Gifts donated the beautiful arrangements on the stage that we also auctioned off at the end of the evening.
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Cherilyn Pepper, local high school student and 2014 recipient of the MNP Global Youth Citizen Scholarship award shared her experience in Ethiopia in July. 

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Aaron from the Enactus group at the Medicine Hat College presented his plan for getting iPads into the education support centers in Ethiopia for better technology access and training for the students there.

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Our major sponsor, Vern Hyde with Financial Solutions and also a member of the Medicine Hat Chapter for Canadian Humanitarian, ‘called’ our live auction portion which included a lunch with Mayor Ted Clugston, a large painting by local artist Theresa Eisenbarth and a signed, framed Olympic Jarome Iginla hockey jersey.
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The mayor watched in anticipation as the bidding for a lunch with him went to close at $600!

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Theresa Eisenbarth enjoying the antics of Vern Hyde!

Thank you to everyone for an amazing evening and to Bobbi-Jo for the donation of her photography once again so we can remember all the good times!


Thank you, Medicine Hat!

Beyond Belief 2014 was a great success!  Thanks to everyone’s amazing support we broke records with the number of sponsors and donors for the event, higher ticket sales than ever before and more money raised both in individual donations and silent & live auctions items! It was a wonderful evening of fun and heart-felt stories of the humanitarian work being done in Ethiopia. If you haven’t opened your Medicine Hat News yet, in the Lifestyles section we found a great article outlining some of the highlights of the evening!

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Of course, we cannot do anything without those that support us along the way! 

So thanks to our Sponsors!

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Medicine Hat Lodge provided Ted Jaleta’s accommodations, donation of soap for Ethiopia and a gift certificate.


Special Thanks to Lisa Zanidean and the South Ridge YMCA for hosting a running clinic for Ted to share his expertise as a world-class runner!

We had some amazing and hard working volunteers from Saamis Immigration Services again this year!

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 As with our recent past events in Regina, Calgary and now Medicine Hat – stay tuned for photos from the event donated graciously by Bobbi-Jo.


The Andrew Allen Expedition

Calling all humans that want to change the world!

This SPRING 2015, Andrew Allen is teaming up with Canadian Humanitarian and Kids Hope Ethiopia to bring hope, music and inspiration to some of the most impoverished and at risk youth in Ethiopia.

  Donate Now so Andrew Allen and his expedition members can donate shirts and shoes to the children his is visiting!




Trees and Crafts at Gindo

The Expedition Team spent a few days out at the Education Support Center in Gindo in rural Ethiopia.  It was a wonderful few days full of activities! The students and volunteers made crafts together, and our Expedition Team taught the students about the environment, and about re-forestation.

Then, the students and volunteers planted 50 tree saplings around the Gindo Center yard, and at the Market Garden area. The kids loved doing this- and were very organized in getting water in the hole before the tree went in, and after. Each student has taken on a specific tree to take care of. So they will all get the attention they need until they are strong and growing well.


Thanks for all the support for Hope for Tomorrow 2014!

We had a record-breaking fund raising event this year!  The Calgary Chapter of Canadian Humanitarian organized an amazing evening, and the board of directors and staff would like to thank all our sponsors and volunteers. The money raised will help support our education support centers in Africa.  Dr. Samantha Nutt was thought provoking and entertaining in her address, we are glad she was able to take the time to come and be involved with what we’re doing.  We look forward to next year’s event!

Remember, donations are always accepted!

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Amazing centerpieces provided by Christine Cheung, it was even better when we got to take them home with us!

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Thanks to our Calgary Fundraising Chapter team for pulling off another great event!

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Wonderful silent auction and thanks to all the generous companies and individuals who provided items.

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Heather helped out at our table and was kept busy with all the donations rolling in!  Her traditional Ethiopian dress was purchased on her last expedition in May.

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Keepsake leather bracelets from Little Lion Man Leather.  Thanks guys, it was a great addition to our evening.

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Co-founder and Chairman of the Board – Dr. Richard Northcott

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Dr. Samantha Nutt, keynote speaker

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Amazing Ethiopian dancers provided wonderful entertainment throughout the evening

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Rick Castiglione, our entertaining Master of Ceremonies

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Some young and very stylish supporters!

Thanks to our amazing sponsors for this years event!







And of course, our great donors and volunteers!

A Fun Day at Kirkos

Our Fall Expedition Team has been in Ethiopia for over a week now, and it looks like they are having a wonderful trip!

The team spent a few days with the students at the Kirkos Education Support Center, and were treated to presentations from the students, and from the dance club.

Then the expedition team taught the students how to use magnifying glasses. None of the students had ever seen one before, but they quickly found out you could burn your name into a piece of paper if you maneuvered it just right!

2014.11.Kirkos32ch Each of the students received a hygiene kit as a gift from the expedition team. Thank you to everyone who donated hygiene items for making this gift possible!


Test of Humanity – September 2014


Thank you to our amazing Okanagan Chapter and volunteers for another amazing year of mountain biking, racing, dust, fundraising and FUN! 

For more amazing shots of the event in past years, check out the Test of Humanity gallery.


Of course, just flying into the Okanagan Valley in BC is amazing, not to mention the fun that is about to be had!

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As soon as we arrived, we were put to work to prepare the trails, organize the race packages and help out in any way we could. 




Setting up the kids track was hot, back-breaking work (for those of us without muscles!) but it was so fun to see the little racers start to test their skills on the mountain!



The track is ready, tents are in place, racers have arrived! Let the fun begin!



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Lots of award categories meant lots of the racers from all ages and skills were able to get a token and reminder of the great day.


Deb Northcott, Co-Founder and Expedition Coordinator was kept busy at the ribbon booth.


Unfortunately there were a few bumps, cuts and bruises but except for one major wipeout, most left the medical tent with dry eyes and new Band-Aid’s!


A final thanks to all the sponsors, racers, volunteers and supporters from Dr. Richard Northcott, Chairman and Co-Founder of Canadian Humanitarian.




A little birthday party and celebration was held after and concluded a wonderful weekend of fun and giving to those in Gindo, Ethiopia who are truly in need. Thanks to everyone for your support and we’ll see you next year!!

support a scholar

Canadian Humanitarian has had great success in seeing many students be accepted into universities, colleges, technical and trade schools, and vocational training programs.

We have students enrolled in health officer training, nursing school, engineering programs, lab technician programs, accounting programs, hairdressing school, culinary school, computer technology institutions, attaining woodworking and metalworking certificates, and more.

While gaining their education the students have a variety of costs such as tuition, transportation, books, and living expenses. These costs and fees can be prohibitive to a students being able to attend post-secondary education, even though they have been accepted.

Support A Scholar donations will go directly to helping these students meet their needs as they earn their degrees, certificates, and diplomas.

September 2014 Newsletter

It’s hard to believe the summer is already over, and all our students are back to school for another year. To celebrate the start of another year, we are holding #backtoschoolstunts – an end of summer fundraiser! Check out the stunts we’ve already done, and donate to see us do more!

This year, we have added the Lira, Uganda Education Center to our growing numbers.  It is exciting to reach into new areas and give these students an opportunity to reach their potential, and hope for their future.

But we can’t do it alone! We need your help to fill up the future for our students.

Our Chapters have been busy this summer as well – getting ready for their annual events!

Okanagan Valley – Test of Humanity, Sept 21st
Calgary – Hope For Tomorrow, Nov 5th
Medicine Hat – Beyond Belief, Nov 19th

We have had some amazing volunteers travel with us to Ethiopia and Uganda this year. Our Global Youth Citizen expedition was a wonderful experience for our students in Ethiopia, and the young adults who traveled together.

Expedition volunteers can now travel to one, two or all three of the countries we work in: Ethiopia, Uganda, and Malawi.  For more information, or to start an application, contact Deb.

This summer was full of activity and fun! We had young adults involved in our Global Youth Expedition, recieved profiles on the 50 children who are joining our program in Lira, Uganda this fall, and are still having a whole lot of fun with our #backtoschoolstunts fundraiser!

Check out our favourite blog posts from the past couple months:

Global Youth Expedition
Office Happenings
Fill it Up
Heart Wrenching – A Volunteer’s Experience

Office Happenings

One of our goals that we have been working on this summer is getting our name out into the community. There is a large portion of the community here in Medicine Hat who are not aware of what we do or even that we are here.

On the street downtown where our office is there is an event entitled “Alive After Five” every Wednesday evening in the summer. At the end of July we began our participation in the event and we will have a table there until the end of the summer. These evenings were spent talking to members of the community about our programs and our expeditions. We appreciate the opportunity to meet new people in the community and to let them know what we do here at Canadian Humanitarian. We look forward to participating again next summer.

Alive after Five, Downtown Medicine Hat

We’ve also had the privilege of participating in The Park After Dark Cinemas where we played a video about Canadian Humanitarian before each movie was shown and our Executive Director gave a brief explanation of who we are and what we do. During the movies a table was set up near the concessions for people to ask questions, make donations and buy merchandise. We only got rained out once!  It was a lot of fun to talk to local community members about what we do both in Africa and right here in Medicine Hat.

The Park After Dark Cinemas - CH Charity night

Global Youth Expedition – Alemgena

We spent several days with the students at the Education Support Center in Alemgena, singing songs, playing soccer, and learning all sorts of new phrases in Amharic!

The student volunteers gave their presentations on having sportsmanship, being environmentally friendly, and we also had a fun class to practice English by reading and acting out stories.

The program manager and the students had planned a community service project for all of us to do – we cleaned out the water drainage system down a main road near the education center – right in front of Teddy’s new shop!  It rained nearly the whole time, but that couldn’t stop us.

At the end of our time together, we had a wonderful dance party!


The end of the summer is upon us, and school will be starting again soon – for us here in Canada and for all our students in Africa.  Our goal this summer was to raise $100,000 to fund our programs and we haven’t made it yet.

Help us make our goal before school starts again!  And to make the goal even better we have added a little something for you:
For every $1000 that is raised Lyndon and Heather from our office will video tape themselves performing a stunt you suggested and air it online.

There are so many worthy causes you could donate to – make us your favourite! Help us out with any amount you can. Remember that even though not everyone can donate $1000, if 100 people each donate $10 it adds up the same so share our goal with all your friends on facebook, twitter, instagram – wherever.

When you donate leave us a crazy stunt suggestion in the comments! Donate $1000 or more and we have to do your stunt.

 You can help us support a cause that is close to our hearts. We know these children and have been fortunate enough to spend time with them. They are wonderful, bright children, give them a chance to succeed, and hope for their future.


Program Update: Kirkos

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Students at our Kirkos Center have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and five (5) in May. Each group brought special life skills, they spent time playing, visiting student homes, and getting to know these students better.

healthheadline Several nurses took time to discuss and teach about infectious diseases, how they spread, and the role of immunization to prevent infection. The kids were very interested in hearing the story of the first vaccine developed by Mr. Louis Pasteur for Rabies, and about immunization programs that now exist to help prevent more diseases.

dance headline.k The students are so welcoming! Culturally, a welcome in Ethiopia means being invited to dance, sing, and have a cup of coffee. The volunteers had lots of time to participate in these activities!

Kirkos Center has a very enthusiastic Dance Club troupe. They have been performing and competing in dance recitals all over the city of Addis. In January, they won the Addis Ababa City Wide Competition, 1st Place Gold Cup. As you can imagine, the whole center is very proud of this dance group.

kirkos art headline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them. The students loved this special activity.

For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother figure. The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift. The students loved this activity!

kirkos home visit headline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors them, and acknowledges their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school fulltime, and to attend the Education Center after school. So far this year, we have had several opportunities to visit with the families of some of the students from the Kirkos Center.

kirkos scholarship headline Many students who used to attend the KIRKOS Education Center programs are now in college, university, or technical schools. In February we had the opportunity to gather volunteers and students together to spend an evening visiting, eating, and swimming.

Two former Kirkos Center students received a special grant and award, the MANJI/BURGHARDT Scholarship, for achieving a GPA over 3.8 for the full academic year. This award included a laptop for each student, and $1000 BIRR ($50 USD) grant. These items were presented to them in July, by the Global Youth Expedition team members. The students were surprised and excited to receive it.

It was a great evening to meet together as guests of the Hilton Addis Ababa.

bonding headline All of our volunteers comment on how much they grow to love the students in our programs. It is amazing that in such a short amount of time that a bond of friendship and trust can be forged so strongly. This has been true for our volunteers in 2014.

Kids love to play, have their picture taken, and give out hugs! Many of their games are reminiscent of old time outdoor games we recognize from home. Games like “Red Rover”, “Duck Duck Goose”, “What time is it Mr Wolf?”, each with their own Ethiopian flavor, are loved by everyone!

Kirkos square button If you would like to sponsor a child, contact Rachel.
See this update as a newsletter.

Fill a Home in Uganda

The Education Support Center isn’t just for the children – it’s for their whole family at home. Support education and information programs for the student’s guardians, such as entrepreneurial skills, hygiene, and money management sessions, to help improve every aspect of a child’s life.  Fill their home with hope, and a better future.

Program Update: Kality

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Students in our Kality Program, run at the VCS Love and Hope Center, have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and another group of five (5) volunteers in May. Each group brought special life skills, and spent time playing, visiting student homes, and getting to know these students better.

health headline Several nurses took time to discuss and teach about infectious diseases, how they spread, and the role of immunization to prevent infection. The kids were very interested in hearing the story of the first vaccine developed by Mr. Louis Pasteur for Rabies, and about immunization programs that now exist to help prevent more diseases.

grooming activity headline Volunteers had the chance to help students with their personal grooming time on a Saturday. At the common wash up area, many of the students were washing hair, their faces, and were helped along the way.

birthday headline The students at Kality get to celebrate student’s birthdays every 3 months. The March celebration was particularly festive, with dancing, recitations, and LOTS of cake and treats. It was charming to see the students help each other spread cake frosting on their noses and foreheads, traditionally a birthday celebration activity.

art headline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them. The students loved this special activity. For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother-figure.
The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift.

kality home visit headline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors them, and acknowledges their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school fulltime and the Education Center after school.
While home visits can be emotionally challenging for our volunteers, they always report back to us that it is also one of the highlights of their volunteer experience. All student families report to Canadian Humanitarian that they LOVE having volunteers visit them personally. We have had the chance to visit several families of the students in the Kality Program so far this year.

dental headline Kality is still working very hard on its dental hygiene program, and volunteers helped encourage students to keep their teeth clean!

renovation headline February volunteers included construction workers from Saskatchewan. They helped to paint, fix up and do an overall renewal of the Kality Building. They even taught some of the local center staff how to do these kinds of repairs too! Thanks to their efforts the building looks beautiful!

kality square button If you would like to sponsor a child, contact Rachel.
See this update as a newsletter.

Global Youth Expedition: Fun and Games at Kirkos!

We spent our last day at Kirkos Center enjoying the program that the students had put together for us, and playing games together.
Kirkos Center has a wonderful student dance troupe. They have won city-wide competitions for traditional dance. We were treated to several different cultural dances from them, and it was awesome!
The older students planned the program out, and had thought up several games to include our Global Youth volunteers in. Such as blowing flour in someone’s face while blindfolded!kirkos.81
Still friends.kirkos.06
Kirkos also has a very active Drama Club, and this trip they entertained us with several different miming skits. This one was about a burglar – which explains the makeup!kirkos.05
Egg races!  Our Global Youth team didn’t last very long – the students at Kirkos are really good at this!
This was our final day working at the Kirkos Center – playing games and dancing with the students was the perfect way to end our visit there. Thank you Kirkos!

Global Youth Expedition: Kirkos Community Cleanup

After learning about why it is important to keep our environment clean from our volunteers, the students at Kirkos Program held a community clean-up activity.
We started with the center itself, and then moved into the streets nearby – picking up garbage and pulling weeds, then taking everything to a dumpster to be properly disposed of.

Program Update: Gindo

gindo headline
Students at our Gindo Center have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and others as they have been able to travel the roads during rainy season. Each group brought special life skills, and spent time playing, visiting student homes, getting to know these students better.

wheelchair headline Thanks to generous donations of volunteers, Abate from the Gindo Center was able to have a wheelchair specially measured and made for him. With the chair, came a tutoring course, and specialized tools so he can repair and care for this chair on his own. Abate will graduate this year from the center, as he is now 19 years old. Center staff have been working with him to learn a skill so he can run his own little business. Being off the ground, and mobile are HUGE improvements for his life. THANK YOU to the Gindo Center staff and volunteers who have made this dream come true for Abate. Equal with the others!

underwear headline Personal grooming kits were given to each student as part of the February expedition group. Students, and staff happily accepted new socks, underwear, t-shirt, candy, and a toothbrush.

methanex headline In the fall of 2013, Methanex sponsored a Global Awareness challenge with a high school in Medicine Hat. Challenging the students to come up with a solution to a need in Gindo that could be helped with a budget of $1000. The outcome of this challenge was a solar powered light project, that is now providing light to 10 families in the Gindo area. The students had a fun time in February creating thank you banners for both Methanex and the participating students.

Gindo art headline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them. The students loved this special activity. For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother figure. The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift. These gifts were beautiful, and the students were excited to make them.

Gindo home visit headline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors them, and acknowledges their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school fulltime, and to attend the Education Center after school. Throughout the past 6 months, we have visited several of the families of students in the Gindo Center.

If you would like to sponsor a child, contact Rachel. gindo square button See this update as a newsletter.

Program Update: Alemgena and Guelele

Students at both our Alemgena and Guelele Centers have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and another group of five (5) volunteers in May. Each group brought special life skills, and spent time playing, visiting student homes, getting to know these two centers better. 

healthheadline Several nurses took time to discuss and teach about infectious diseases, how they spread, and the role of immunization to prevent infection. The kids were very interested in hearing the story of the first vaccine developed by Mr. Louis Pasteur for Rabies, and about immunizations programs that now exist to help prevent more diseases.

firstaidheadline A second team of nurses worked with students to help them understand some basic principles of First Aid, how to make a sling, put on bandages, and stop excessive bleeding. This picture shows a real honest effort by a group of Grade 2 students to put a sling on their classmate. They eventually learned how to do the classic sling to perfection.

cultureheadline The students are so welcoming! Culturally, a welcome in Ethiopia means being invited to dance, sing, and have a cup of coffee.  The volunteers had lots of time to participate in these activities! Using an empty jerry can for a drum, students all join in singing and others teach volunteers how to shake their shoulders in the traditional manner that is basic to all Ethiopian cultural dance.

mothersdayheadline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them.The students loved this special activity. For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother-figure.The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift. The students loved this activity!

homevisitheadline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors the family by acknowledging their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school full-time and to attend the Education Center after school.

While home visits can be emotionally challenging for our volunteers, they always report back to us that it is also one of the highlights of their volunteer experience. All student families report to Canadian Humanitarian that they LOVE having volunteers visit them personally.

annualmedicalheadline Students at both Alemgena and Guelele had annual physicals completed with the help of volunteer nurses and doctors. For many of the new students coming into Guelele and Alemgena, this was their first experience to have a doctor see them. At first they were nervous, but that quickly faded with the help of our friendly and caring medical volunteers.

All the students are spending their summer preparing for the upcoming school year, and were also visited by the Global Youth Expedition in July.

If you would like to sponsor a child, please contact Rachel. <small>See this update as a newsletter</small>  

Global Youth Expedition: First day at Kirkos Center

We were greeted by the students at the Kirkos Center with warm smiles and lots of excitement!  The Kirkos Center is very proud of their Dance Club, and were very happy to perform many different dances for us during the 3 days we spent with them.
Our first presentation was given by two of our Global Youth Expedition team members. They taught about the importance of keeping our environment clean, and different ways we can recycle and reuse to reduce our waste. 
In the afternoon, we made animal masks to go with the story we read with the students. Mice, cats, dogs, and hens – all of them covered in glitter!

Global Youth Expedition: Field trip with Kality

We spent a day joining a field trip with the students of the Kality Program. We met at the top of a mountain, Entoto Mariam, and toured a museum featuring the history of Ethiopia, admired this beautiful old church, and visited the former palace residence of the old Emperors of Ethiopia.entoto.02
It was a beautiful day for our outing! We loved having the sunshine.entoto.03
The palace is not all that large – but beautifully built. They still use the grounds for farming, and you can see that a section of the yard has been plowed for planting crops.kality.04
The students had a great time! And they love having their picture taken.kality.05

Global Youth Expedition: Kality Center

On July 8th, our volunteer group of youth set off for the Global Youth Expedition 2014! We gathered at the Calgary airport and began the long flight to Ethiopia.

The first Education Support Center that we visited was the Kality Center.  We read, and acted out, a story; “The Little Red Hen”, and we did a big art project where the students got to draw and decorate their favourite type of animal.  Everyone loved it! Especially the fact that there was glitter.
When everyone had had a chance to cover their artwork in glitter, and go through the story a few times, we took a break and played soccer with the kids.  It was the perfect first day of our expedition!

Educational Series: Article 1

When thinking about writing a series of educational articles about Ethiopia, life there and the work we do I came upon this quote from Haile Gebreselassie, “I feel a social responsibility. We need to open people’s eyes. There is a lack of education in Ethiopia”. I want to use a variation of this great Ethiopian’s word to explain my desire; I feel a social responsibility, we need to open people’s eyes. There is a lack of education about Ethiopia.  If there are topics you would love to have addressed please email me and I will work on them for future posts.

The source for this article (unless otherwise indicated) is the World Health Organization (WHO) (2014), Ethiopia: health profile.

0138fdd7d6953d1db92689283aff0aec56c2701152 Ethiopia has a population of around 91 million people and is the second most populated country in Africa; approximately 17% of the population lives in an urban area. The country is heavily dependent upon agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 46 percent of their GDP and 85 percent of total employment (The Heritage Foundation, 2014). The economic situation in Ethiopia has been increasing in recent years, however the country is still one of the poorest in the world. Looking at a GDP per capita comparison between Canada and Ethiopia demonstrates this point; Canada’s GDP per capita is $42, 734 while Ethiopia’s is $1,191 (The Heritage Foundation, 2014).

I have not provided the comparison statistics above and below to indicate that Canada is better or that we have it all figured out, I have included them because I find statistics to be better understood if someone has a reference point. We tend to have a decent understanding of life in our own countries and so this is there simply to provide a reference for understanding the situation in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Canada
Life expectancy M/F 62/65 80/84
Under 5 Mortality Rate /100 live births 6.8 0.5
Adult Mortality Rate (probability of dying between 15-60 /100 population) 25/21.2 8.3/5.2

There is one other statistic that I would like to share in this article and that is regarding health care providers. Ethiopia is experiencing a severe shortage of trained health care providers. There are approximately 3 physicians for every 100,000 people in the country and there are 25 nurses or midwives for every 100,000 people. The health care system in Ethiopia is understaffed and overworked. I believe some of the above statistics could be changed by improved access to adequate healthcare. This is a problem that will take years to improve. This is one of the reasons we take medical expeditions over twice a year. This way we are able to provide regular medical check ups on the children and their families. If you are interested in traveling with us for a medical expedition we are always looking for physicians and nurses. This October/November will be our next medical expedition, and we need trained healthcare professionals to volunteer with us. Please contact our expedition coordinator if you are interested in making a difference.

Turge clinic (8)

The Heritage Foundation. (2014). 2014 Index of Economic Freedom. Retrieved from 
World Health Organization. (May 2014). Ethiopia: health profile. Retrieved from 

Test of Humanity: Register for the Race

The annual TEST of HUMANITY race is coming up on September 21, 2014 in Penticton BC.

 Early Bird Registration ends July 15, 2014!!!!  
Regular registration is open until September 18th. Register online.

The TOH bike race features pristine conditions! Its well-manicured rolling hills, berms, and whoops provide for some magnificent riding.  But also the varied terrain is suitable for riders of all ages and skill levels making TOH a memorable family event.  From bike savvy 3 year olds, uber-fit enduro junkies, to the safety conscious 60+ downhillers, the course promises nothing but fun and fitness.


All proceeds from Test of Humanity support Canadian Humanitarian Projects in Africa.


Heart Wrenching – A Volunteer’s Experience

If I had to use two words to describe my experience in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it would be heart wrenching.

Heart wrenching to see the level of poverty and homelessness that I could never have imagined before.

Heart wrenching to understand that children and families in Ethiopia are suffering for problems that don’t even exist in North America.

Heart wrenching to see so few resources available for this level of hardship: no food banks, no homeless shelters, no soup kitchens etc.

I feel a lot of love and admiration for the Canadian Humanitarian staff in Ethiopia who work tirelessly every day for the benefit of children and families. They are passionate, resourceful and never give up, even when the children’s situations are complex and challenging. The staff at the Education Centers become extended family for the children and provide an enormous protective factor during the child’s developmental years.


I feel overwhelming love and admiration for the children and their families, who are suffering, yet present as grateful, loving, caring, hopeful, and giving. They will light up a room and our hearts with their beautiful smiles if we let them.


My biggest challenge after arriving home is what to do with the knowledge I have gained from my expedition experience. Luckily, through Canadian Humanitarian, I can continue to work at home to empower and support the children and families of Ethiopia. Kudos to the founders and staff at Canadian Humanitarian who have demonstrated that a long-term investment in the lives of vulnerable children reaps huge rewards.

When people ask me if I’ll go back, my reply is “How can I not?”

Yvonne Brittner
May Expedition Volunteer, Spent 6 weeks in Ethiopia

Packing up again!

Our Global Youth Expedition leaves for Ethiopia tomorrow and we have been busy, and even busier getting ready to leave!  Thanks a ton to our Global Youth Citizen Award Winner Cherilyn, who dropped by and helped us sort out all the soaps and toothpastes and shampoos.


Games and craft supplies – we are going to have so much fun with the students at our Education Support Centers!


School supplies, games, crafts – everything we need!


All packed up and tidy – and weighed in advance!

And thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! to everyone who donated for our hygiene kits! We have received donations from many of our volunteers in several different cities, and we appreciate how hard you work to organize everything.

Scholarship Student Update: Senayet
Senayet joined our program in Kirkos at the age of 10, and did very well in her classes. She was accepted to a 3 year nursing program after graduating from high school in Addis Ababa.

Through our Scholarship Program, Senayet was supported as she attended her university classes. Wanting to do more, she also got a part time job, and started saving any extra money that she earned.  Over the 3 years, Senayet was able to save enough money to send herself to one extra year of university so that she could get a 4 year degree and have an even better education.


Senayet joined an expedition group’s medical team and was able to help with clinics in rural Ethiopia, working alongside North American medical professionals. Here, she is getting some practice in taking blood pressure under the supervision of an expedition volunteer who is a trained nurse. Another scholarship student, Eyerusalem, watches.

Congratulations on entering your final year of university Senayet! We are proud of all the hard work you have put into your education.

Looking for Adventure

When I signed up to travel with Canadian Humanitarian, I knew I was headed out for an adventure and boy did I get one…Ethiopia was amazing!

I have traveled many places and I can now strongly say that I have met the happiest and kindest people on this planet, they will give even when they have nothing to give! I was in awe with the time and passion they put into everything they do. We were honored with Coffee ceremonies almost everywhere we went and the time and effort put into them is humbling, and for us …I felt like royalty!

And my heart…well I don’t know how to explain it, but it felt like it was going to explode with love. I never expected the deep emotional connection to the children but the way they look at you, greet you, touch your hair, and just hold on to you for hours, so tender and with so much love, the pain behind their smiles as they struggle to carry on. They are so thankful to be a part of the Canadian Humanitarian Family and so am I. It feels like it’s what glues them to their future.

The credibility of this organization is real, I felt like I was part of a family from the very beginning, starting from Heather Woodward (Program Development Coordinator, and Expedition Team Leader) meeting us at the airport, to our wonderful drivers that treated us like sisters, to the passionate staff at the centres. Overall it was an amazing experience and I will share with all the great work Canadian Humanitarian is doing for these children and families.

Thank You,

Anita Robinson
Volunteer May 2014 Expedition

Life Changing Experiences – A Volunteer Perspective

Children   Parents   Families  

Teamwork     Positive    Engaging

Collaborative   Responsiveness   Inspiring

Engaging   Sustainability   Transparency

Collaboration     Growth   Visionaries

Loving   Kindness     Graceful

My experience in Ethiopia is so hard to describe. Throughout my time in Ethiopia I wrote down single words that help me to better understand and illustrate the work of Canadian Humanitarian, the staff, the children and the families in Ethiopia. Their goals and expectations for the children are no different than what we have for our children in Canada. My experience has been powerful and simply life changing. I made a commitment to one of the moms during our home visit and told her although we would be going back home that did not mean we would stop working for her family. There are many other children in the community that need our help. I plan to be part of the change and keep the powerful words in my mind when I think I, just one person, can’t make a difference. I can and I will.

This blog was written by Linda Langevin, one of the volunteers with the May Expedition.

A visit to Kersa

In February, we went with an group of volunteers on an expedition to Ethiopia, and as part of the trip were able to spend a few days in Kersa area with the Foresight Fathers, the Students, and their families. It was Lyndon’s (Executive Director) first visit to Ethiopia. 

It was a busy few days!  Volunteers did repairs to the building, cleared part of the yard, and did medicals on enrolled Students, Foresight Fathers, Provident Mothers, and their families.

Here are a few of our favourite photos from Lyndon’s visit to Kersa!

June Newsletter
With Canadian Humanitarian expanding and opening new programs, we are excited to announce that our expeditions are changing!

Expedition volunteers can now travel to one, two or all three of the countries we work in: Ethiopia, Uganda, and Malawi.  For more information, or to start an application, contact Deb.
Another exciting announcement is that this fall, a new education support center will be opening in Lira, Uganda.
Help us fill up the center! We need books, school supplies, tuition, uniforms, sponsorships, and food.

Donate today to stock the new education support center and give children the tools they need to reach their potential!

Highlights From This Quarter:

We are having an amazing year so far, with volunteers running in two races, an expedition to Ethiopia, and summertime on its way.  Check out our favourite blog posts from the past couple months:

Birthday Party at Kality
Global Youth Citizen Award
22 Children in 22 Days
Making a Difference
Scholarship Update: Eyerusalem
New Rules regarding email newsletters and spam:

On July 1st, CRTC will put into force new laws that are designed to protect individuals from excess emails (spam). 
Canadian Humanitarian is pleased to annouce that we are in compliance with the new laws.  More information can be found at the CRTC’s webpage.


Our Expeditions are Changing!

With the exciting news of a new education support center in Lira, Uganda; and a new program opening up in Malawi, we are excited to start traveling to these countries as part of our expeditions.  The first expedition to include all three countries is going in October 2014.  Applications for this, and for next years expeditions, are now open!

We are expressly seeking volunteers who have training in all fields of expertise for Medical Health Care, Social Work, Child Development, Construction and Education. Each expedition is open to anyone wishing to volunteer, but these areas are of a particularly high need.

If you feel you are someone who would be willing to volunteer, despite challenging work environments, Canadian Humanitarian needs your help.  Contact Deb to find out how you can travel to Africa as a volunteer!


Thanks to our volunteers in the Run for Rights!

Volunteers from our Winnipeg Chapter ran in the Winnipeg Run for Rights last week – and it looks like they had an amazing day!


naeemnathalie (2)

The weather was sunny and perfect, and everyone was excited to be there.


getting pumped to begin at the starting line – thank you to Jennine, Kim, Nathalie, Alana, Tanner and Naeem for running!

Thank you so much to all our volunteers for all their hard work in getting pledges and sponsors for their run!

Fill a Desk in Uganda We are opening a new Education Support Center in Lira, Uganda this fall, and we are thrilled!  There will be 50 children in the program, who will receive a hot meal a day, after-school tutoring, and tuition support, as well as much more.

Help us get their Support Center filled and ready for them by filling up a desk – with notebooks, pencils, geometry sets, paper, and any other school supplies they need.  Each set of supplies only costs $60 – so share with your friends and help us fill all 50 desks with supplies for the students!


Making a Difference

We have the opportunity to do a few home visits with our students when with an expedition group. Home visits allow us to meet guardians and to thank them for the support and love they daily give their child or foster child. It is an acknowledgement of their hard work and a way for us to show our gratitude for what they do.

During a home visit a few months ago, our group (Lyndon, Nikki, and I) met a wonderful family in the Kirkos area of Addis. The mother is a  market vendor. She has 3 children; an older teenage girl, a mid-teen boy ( in our program) and a younger boy. The family recently moved into their small mud and stick home, offered by local government authorities.  This new home got them off Addis streets, and into a space of their own.

However, the home was in deteriorating condition and the front door did not lock. The family had managed to stave off intruders, but there were safety concerns for the daughter. During our February visit,  we were concerned for the welfare of this family, and moved by their stories. Our volunteer group tried to get improvements in motion, but due to the home being government property, petitions for improvements had to pass through local government channels before repairs could be made to the home.

Once back in Canada, I thought of this family regularly. I believe that no one should have to live in fear in their own home. Everyone should be able to have a safe place to sleep. We know that this can be a challenge even in our country.  The family’s safety, particularly the daughter, weighed on my mind.

With the May Expedition Group, I had the opportunity to meet with Kirkos Education Center staff.  They assured me  we would do home visits again,   and they promised that I would be impressed with the changes for this particular family.  On our last day with the children in this program, home visits were scheduled.  I was anxious to see this family.

As we came around the street corner, I knew I was in a familiar area, but I never would have recognized the home on my own. The outside structure had been reinforced.  There were no longer holes in the walls. A window had been added to the front of the home to allow for more light. A new door had been installed and the lock was functioning. The interior of the home was restructured, with  new concrete floor.  A proper bedroom had been added, and the roof replaced, so that it no longer leaked.

The family was so grateful for what had been down with their home. As we visited, I asked the daughter how she was feeling.  She told me that she  felt safe, that she could  sleep soundly at night again. Her brother in our program was also able to significantly increase his school performance.  I cried many tears of happiness that day. I was grateful to our project managers and partners,  who recognized the family’s need and pushed for  approval from the government to renovate the house.   I was impressed that they acted quickly, engaging both the family and their neighbours to volunteer their time to get the house renovated. What a difference this is making to our student, and the family!  


Creating Global Youth

We are excited to start a new opportunity this year – our first annual award from MNP for the Global Youth Citizen Award.  This award is open to high school students, who can apply to our office to be eligible.  The winner receives a trip with Canadian Humanitarian during our summer Global Youth Expedition in July.

The Global Youth Expedition is a special opportunity for young adults aged 16-25 to travel together and work with the students in our Education Support Centers in Africa.

One purpose of the 2014 Global Youth Expedition is an exchange between Canadian Culture and Ethiopian Culture. The students in our Education Support Centers will be excited to learn about Canada, and our Canadian Student Volunteers will each be giving small presentations about their lives in Canada, their family, heritage, and the city they are from.

Other special activities we have planned this year are community service projects organized by the students and program managers in Ethiopia, a Soccer Tournament Day, Scavenger Hunt, Field trips, and a small Theatre or Skit day.

Congratulations to Cherilyn for winning the Global Youth Citizen Award this year – we look forward to having her with us in July with a great group of youth who are making a difference!

If you have any questions about expeditions, or about the award, please contact our office.

Our Team in the Calgary Marathon

On June 1, our Canadian Humanitarian team participated in the Calgary Marathon.
The team consisted of Carol Pierson and her two boys, Quinton and Braedon. We did have 4 other team members who were not able to make it due to injuries.

Suzanne couldn’t run, but she still went and took pictures, and she holds the title for the top fundraiser from the team. Quinton and Braedon ran the 5K marathon along with their mom, Carol who completed the race via a combination of running/walking. The marathon was a first time experience for the Pierson’s and they were amazed at the number of people there. There wasn’t a hope of finding Suzanne in the crowd due to all the people there and all the different races starting at different times.




carolpic2 Our Canadian Humanitarian t-shirts stood out among the many grey marathon shirts and we were proud to represent a great cause. If you would like to donate to our efforts, you still can! DSCF7816
To donate, go to the Calgary Marathon website and across the top, select charity challenge. When you scroll down, you will see instructions on how to donate.   Of course, you can always phone the office to make a donation as well…. 403 527-2741. We appreciate your support!

22 Children in 22 days: Thank you!

During the last 22 days in May, we were able to sponsor 15 of the children in our programs in Ethiopia who still needed sponsorship.  Thank you to all those who shared our goal with their friends, and who sponsored children – we couldn’t run our programs without you!

There are still children who are in need of sponsors in Ethiopia, and we are opening a new program in Uganda this fall – so keep sharing! With your help, we could have 100% of our students sponsored.

Again, thank you!

The motivation for our work

When I arrived back in Ethiopia this trip (my second this year), it felt as though I had barely been gone. Things were much more familiar to me and it is beginning to feel like home while I am there. We had four volunteers on this expedition plus myself as the team leader; as a small group we were able to work closely together.

We were able to accomplish a number of educational and interesting sessions on this trip. We worked with the staff, with the children in the education centres, and with the students at the vocational training centre. For me this trip allowed me to build better relationships with our staff and with our students. I was able to build good friendships with our volunteers, all of whom I look forward to working with again in the future.

This trip I was able to interact with the children at each of the centres in Addis very closely. We spent a few days with each centre and this gave me the opportunity to get to know a number of the children, their names and their situations. These children are why we do what we do. They are the reason that we work hard at fundraising. They are the reason that we talk about our jobs and our work to everyone we know. When you get the opportunity to spend time with these children and to meet their families, you realize the effect that these programs have on the lives of these children and their families. The children in the photos below are just a few of the ones that are expanding my capacity to love and to work hard at what I do, in the hopes that they will have an advantage in life in spite of anything else that may happen in their lives.

heather blog  

fill it up – uganda
A new Education Support Center and Program will be opening in Lira, Uganda this fall. We couldn’t be more excited!  50 children in Lira will be enrolled in the center, and will have the opportunity to stay in school, receive educational support that they need, as well as medical support, a hot meal every day, and extra tutorial help with their school work.

We want to fill up the Education Center with everything it needs: books, backpacks, hygiene kits, school uniforms, tables, desks, pay their tuition fees, and provide food for the hot meal program.  You can donate one item for one child, or as many of each as you would like!  You can also make a general donation towards the new center at any amount. 

Help us Fill it Up in Uganda, and get our Lira Education Support Center off to a full start!

Birthday Party at Kality!

At the Love and Hope Center in Kality, Ethiopia the education support center staff has introduced a whole new kind of party to the children – a group birthday party.

There are 70 children in the Kality education support program – and that’s a lot of birthdays! So every 3 months, the center gets together and celebrates all the birthdays that have happened since the last party. The children who have had those birthdays get to sit up at the head table, and everyone gets cake.

Happy Birthday Everyone!


Scholarship Student Update: Demetrios


Demetrios joined our program in 2007 when he was 12 years old and in grade 6. He is now studying Computer Science at University and is doing excellent in school.

During the February Expedition one of our volunteers presented him with his very own laptop during the Manji-Burghardt Scholarship Night. This laptop will be a great help throughout the rest of his education, and once he begins his career. We look forward to hear all about his successes in the near future.

22 Children in 22 Days: 5 children sponsored!

Since we started our 22 children in 22 days on May 9th we have had 5 children sponsored!
We have 8 days left, and 17 more children who are in need of sponsorship. When a child enters our education program it changes their lives.

 Tamrat, Teddy, and Eyerusalem are a few individuals who entered the Education Support Centers at a young age, and have now grown to be outstanding individuals.

By sponsoring a child you give them hope, education, and love – so begin sponsoring today!

Scholarship Student Update: Teddy


Teddy came to our Education Support Center in 2009.

He loves to participate in sporting activities and is very athletic and outgoing. The younger children consider him a role model and a leader. He has a smile that lights up a room!

Teddy is in the process of becoming an entrepreneur and beginning his own business doing shoe repair. He already has his business model, investor, and the government has donated a section of land where he has built a little building. He is very egger to get started, and we can’t wait to hear all about it. We know he will be extremely successful!

Winnipeg Run for Rights

Join Canadian Humanitarian in this Fun Family Event!

Mark Saturday, June 7th 2014 on your calendar and join us in the 13th Annual Run for Rights. Whether you choose to walk, run, cycle or rollerblade, this event is a great way for you and your family to get outside while supporting Canadian Humanitarian!

This non-competitive “fun run” is great for all ages because participants can choose either a 5km or 10km route, on foot or on wheels!

For more information and to participate in this great event, download a Canadian Humanitarian pledge form for each participant at Under the section “Take Part” scroll down to Canadian Humanitarian Organization for International Relief and click “Download”.

For more information about the Winnipeg Chapter of Canadian Humanitarian, email us.

We hope to see you there!

Scholarship Student Update: Tamrat


Tamrat is one of our students who entered the Education Support Program in 2008.

When he first entered the program his favorite things to do were going to the library to study, and playing Football (soccer) with his friends. He also told us that his ultimate goal when he finished school was to become a businessman and take care of his mother.

Today, his hard work and dedication is paying off. Tamrat is currently at University in the Tourism Degree Program. He has an outstanding GPA of 4.0. 

During our February Expedition, Tamrat was the recipient of the Manji-Burghardt Scholarship Award. He is well on his way to becoming the businessman he once thought was only a dream.


Scholarship Student Update: Eyerusalem


Eyerusalem joined one of our Education Suport Centers in 2009.

She is an extremely bright young woman and is currently attending University to become a Health Officer. She has an impressive GPA of 3.7. Eyerusalem is looking forward to the completion of her degree and what the future has to hold.

When we have a group of medical expedition volunteers she enjoys coming to the Education Support Centers to help take medicals on all the currently enrolled students.

During our February expedition she was the female recipient of the Manji-Burghardt Scholarship Award. She is an extremely hardworking individual and is very deserving of this award. We look forward to hearing about all her successes in the near future.

Donations, donations, donations!

We had so many donations for the May Expedition Volunteers to take into Ethiopia this past week. Our office was full!

By the time we had finished packing we had 9 hockey bags that weighed 50 pounds each. It was absolutely incredible. There were tons of school supplies, and art supplies that will be taken to all seven of our Education Centers. There was also diapers, baby clothes, and blankets that will be donated to a local orphanage in Ethiopia.

Thank you to everyone who donated, we couldn’t do half the things in our Education Centers if it wasn’t for all the wonderful people who donate to this cause.

Stay tuned for pictures of the children receiving all the supplies.

Global Youth Expedition

We are getting excited for our Global Youth Citizen Expedition in July this year!  Already a great group of high school students have joined the expedition and are eagerly fundraising for the trip.

Eric, Kayzia and Rachel are all fundraising for the trip.  Help them out!

We are still accepting applications for this expedition – so if you are interested, send Deb an email! You have until June 6th to register for the trip.

Gindo Sports Day (1)    

My first expedition with Canadian Humanitarian

Writing a single blog post to summarize a month long journey is nearly impossible. I am new to Canadian Humanitarian; I had been working in the head office for 3 ½ months when I left for the February expedition. Ethiopia was new for me, however world travel and Africa were not. I love experiencing new cultures and scenery. Ethiopia is beautiful. It took very little time for me to fall in love with this new country and its people.

I was with the expedition group for a week. I met some wonderful people in this group of volunteers. We worked together, traveled together, and shared illness together. As an employee I am grateful to those volunteers who give of themselves to come with us, work to make things better and engage with the children that we work with. As a person I am grateful to know other people who strive to make this world a better place and to help those not born into the resources we have here in North America.

One of the most memorable days in Ethiopia for me was our last Sunday there. In the afternoon we split into groups to do home visits with a number of the children and their families. Our group saw three families. The living condition of all of these families was not what we are accustomed to in North America. However, the homes were kept clean and tidy and the families welcomed us with warmth. The hope I saw in a mother’s eye as she told us of her gratitude for our programs and the chance that one of her children would now be able to succeed touched me greatly.

Our last visit of the day was very difficult; a small family was living in a tiny place for which they were grateful because it had gotten them off of the streets. However the place was falling apart and the lock on the door didn’t work. The most angering situation because of this was the fact that men had broken into their house and tried to harm the oldest daughter, fortunately neighbours came to their rescue and the tragedy was lessened. This teenage girl lives and sleeps in fear; her younger brother now sleeps on the floor between the door and the bed as an added layer of protection. The bureaucracy of it all is infuriating. The very first step should be to put a lock on the door that works, but to do that you have to go through the local government to get approval for “house improvements”, which can take weeks. I am grateful for staff over there that can check up on this family and follow up with the government so that we can make this a safer place for this family.

Travelling overseas can be mentally and physically exhausting, especially doing humanitarian work where the days tend to be long and active; but each time I have gone I have received more than I have given. Not in the sense of material things, but my life view has been opened and my mind and heart filled by the wonderful people I have met.

The work we are doing over there is incredible, if you think you can give something then please do. If you want to travel, we have multiple expeditions each year. If you have an extra $35 a month, we have children who need sponsors. There are many ways to get involved ask us for ideas and we will share them with you.

Heather Woodward, Program Development Coordinator

A nurse’s perspective on a trip of a lifetime to Addis Ababa(Part III)

At the end of my trip I no longer saw the citizens of Addis Ababa as victims. I chose to focus on more than all the overwhelmingly negative scenarios and situations I had initially seen when I first got to Ethiopia. I am so glad I had the eighteen days to spend in Ethiopia because in the end I felt completely different. I was able to see the positive outcomes it can make to the child and their families future by participating in the programs with Canadian Humanitarian. Not only does education give a child a way to break free from the cycle of poverty but the program itself also offers children the ability to gain confidence and have a safety net. I was able to see first hand how these programs at each center became a second home to the children. It was a place they wanted to come to every day after school because it made them feel accepted, supported, and safe! Canadian Humanitarian has also begun to help the mothers of the children in the programs by involving them in activities that help them generate an income. Some of the activities the mothers are involved in are baking injera (flat bread) they sell and also the women have a chicken coop. This is another great way to help support the family as a unity. The adults are able to then buy food for their family and pay for their rent or shelter and this allows the child to focus more on education. I felt lucky to have been invited into these children’s’ homes and speak to their parents and hear about how proud they were of their educated children. Many acknowledged the importance of education and how they are going to support their child in school so they can have a bright future.

Our group of volunteers during the first week
 Group as of Feb 18th

Colleen St Mikeal Climb (13)

Helping children wash their hair at Kality

washing hair day! (3)

The injera making project with the guardians

enjera making project (4)

Medical examinations

Alemgena medical day (8)

~Colleen Bakke (Registered nurse, Regina, Sask.)

A nurse’s perspective on a trip of a lifetime to Addis Ababa (Part II)

In most cities there is a division between the rich and the poor. However, the time I spent in Ethiopia I did not see this division. I saw families living in poverty or extreme poverty. One of the most shocking experiences of my journey in Ethiopia was taking a trip to the Black Lion Hospital, the government funded referral hospital. This is the hospital where citizens of Addis Ababa and surrounding cities in Ethiopia are referred to when they cannot afford a private hospital. I do not think I can explain the feeling or thoughts that were in my mind when touring through this hospital. From the time I entered the emergency doors until the hospital tour was over I was in disbelief! The Emergency room was overcrowded with people lying on the floor and stretchers all aligned almost touching each other. The initial observations I made was there were no isolation rooms, no gloves being used between patient to patient care, IV bags/blood transfusions were hung on a hanger attached to the roof, and the hopelessness spread across the patients faces was devastating.  

The further we walked through the hospital the more a little piece of my spirit was taken from me. It honestly reminded me of what you would expect to see at a mass casualty triage scene where all resources have been exhausted and people are just trying to make it out alive. The services provided at this hospital were substandard, non-patient centered care. The most surprising to hear was that patients are only physically ambulated/repositioned, toileted, and fed if they have family members to come provide those services for them. If they do not have family the patient is at risk for starvation, as food is not provided in the hospital. I was told there was no running water on the top two or three floors of the hospital. I saw raw sewage running between the hallway and the start of the pediatric ward. The pediatric ward was the last of the tour I could handle with the rows of mothers with such sick children laying in their laps with a ticket waiting to see an attending physician. As a Registered nurse I could tell there were many of those kids who were not going to make the night but their mothers were anxiously waiting their turn in line as if in a line at the bank. This trip made me feel very privileged to have access to the health care that we do here in North America! If any child, adult, or seriously sick/injured person were to come into a hospital they would be seen immediately by an attending physician with a team of health care workers already inserting IV’s, assessing the patient, and investigations would start immediately, with patient centered care being of top priority. Let us be thankful!  

I was able to be a part of doing routine medicals for the children who are enrolled in Education Support Programs and Centers. I really enjoyed being able to perform initial and follow up medical examinations to the children and their families during my time in Ethiopia. It was awesome to see the difference the program had made from a child’s initial assessment to how the child was doing now. I could see many improvements in the children’s’ health such as growth and body weights increasing comparative to the year before. I could also see a difference in a new child entering the program compared to a child who had been in the program for a while. The new child presented with more health concerns/complaints than a child who had been in the program for over a year. It is a great feeling to see the statistics and hear the child express how much better they feel mentally, emotionally, physically by being given the opportunity to participate in programs that are offered through Canadian Humanitarian. From a health care perspective I was also able to see many things I would not see at home in Canada: malaria; typhoid; secondary infections from HIV/AIDS; active TB; polio; untreated otitis media (middle ear infection) resulting in either a perforated ear drum to having no ear drum; tapeworm/roundworm; Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia in the eyes); and many other interesting conditions/diseases. 

One commonality between the family members and children of these programs is they were all looking for an opportunity. Organizations such as Canadian Humanitarian make these opportunities possible and the children have seized every ounce that has been offered to them. It is quite amazing to see these bright children excel and hear their laughter as they dance and enjoy being children. It is such an accomplishment to see children who were so poor and unhealthy become apart of a supportive family at the different centers in Ethiopia where they have access to fresh water, warm nutritious meals, hygiene materials to improve sanitation, education, medical examinations and medical interventions provided. Not only do the programs offer services on site but if a child or their family members need increased care needs or medical interventions they are referred to the private hospital (not government hospital) in which Canadian Humanitarian covers the cost so the children can get healthy and back to school. If it is a child’s family member who is sick the child then knows their family member will be taken care of and can continue to focus on school. 
~Colleen Bakke (Registered nurse, Regina, Sask.)

A nurse’s perspective on a trip of a lifetime to Addis Ababa (Part I)

 “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.”
Ernest Hemingway~

When I booked my trip to Africa through Canadian Humanitarian I had many misconceptions of what the people of Ethiopia would be like. I pictured a life of poverty, sadness, and despair.  I was mistaken! The people in Addis Ababa were some of the happiest and most welcoming people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. The people in Addis Ababa are genuine and authentically true to their culture, beliefs/faith, and have love for their country. Although the residents of Addis Ababa are happy and peaceful the raw truth is most Ethiopian residents live below the poverty line. It was apparent during my expedition to Ethiopia that extreme poverty does exist and the living conditions were unfathomable to me. Many of the houses in Ethiopia are made from sticks for the structure, with mud walls, and tin for the roof. The houses were no bigger than what most North Americans would use for a shed in our backyards. In many of the homes there is no running water, no bathrooms, and most of the stoves used in the homes have no ventilation. If smokeless stoves are not used in the home the family members often present with respiratory illness and disease. Some of the houses I saw in Addis Ababa had two rooms in the home. The second room in the house is usually used as a market store to sell items to the community (drink, souvenirs, clothes etc.) in order to provide an income for the family. To put that in perspective, there is a mud hut with one or two rooms occupied by a family usually consisting of 5-8 children.  

With over three million people in Addis Ababa there is a major concern regarding overcrowding and overpopulation. Overpopulation can affect a country in many ways: increased spread of disease; increased scarcity of jobs; increased demand for resources such as food; and increased human waste. Many of the residents who do not have a latrine (hole in ground to use as bathroom) will void and defecate outside. The areas outside where children are playing can be littered with human and animal waste. This is a concern as with minimal access to sanitation/personal hygiene products such as toilet paper, soap, and water the spread of disease and sickness is increased.  Many of the citizens of Ethiopia already suffer from malnutrition and poverty, which makes them even more vulnerable to illness. This is a health care concern, as with a yearly increasing population the amount of people living in extreme poverty will increase.  

After spending a few weeks in Addis Ababa I was able to see how daily life is for many of the residents of Ethiopia. I felt culture shock within days of being in Addis Ababa, as the living conditions were unspeakable. It affected me as a mother to see women who survive on the streets begging for money to feed their children; to have seven-year-olds coming up to your vehicle begging for food. I wondered how “we” as humans sleep at night knowing an entire country lives like this? Most of the citizens in Addis Ababa, including orphaned children, have to find daily work by shining shoes, selling random objects (bracelets, necklaces, gum etc.) to get some sort of income. The jobs that are available in Addis Ababa would be offered to those who have an education. People who live in poverty do not have the opportunity to get their education, as they often go to work at a young age doing agricultural or domestic work to help their family survive. Until your basic needs are met (shelter, food, water) there is no way to strive towards higher goals until the most basic necessities of life are met.  

One of the main and special objectives of Canadian Humanitarian is the strong belief in providing and supporting children in attaining an education. One of the priorities of this organization is to get the children in their programs to complete school and go on to get technical certification or a college/university degree. What is so special is that Canadian Humanitarian forms relationships with the children when they are first enrolled into the program. They support the children through school right up until they are graduating from university and entering into their careers. This is one of the many reasons that after my eighteen-day trip to Ethiopia I felt hope for these children. In fact, while visiting children who are a part of these programs I was able to witness personal testimonies in how these programs have impacted their life. Many of the children expressed how they can see a bright future and are able to openly discuss their dream careers.

During my group of home visits I was lucky to have met a boy from one of the centers who did not have a sponsor yet. I had the opportunity to meet his mother whom was very ill with AIDS. I was shown his tiny home, in which only three of us could fit in at a time. His daily living conditions were shocking. His home did not have running water, did not have a bathroom, and the only meals the child and his mother ate were the leftovers the restaurant next door had given to them when they closed each night. This child has so much potential and this program helps him be able to see a future and have a chance to overcome the obstacle of severe poverty. I am grateful that my family and I are able to support this child and program by becoming his sponsor. I must say that for anyone interested in going to Ethiopia through Canadian Humanitarian regardless of your career background it is a trip you will never regret.  It was one of the most eye opening and surreal experiences of my life and I am so happy I was able to have this journey! For anyone who may not be able to make it to Africa please consider supporting the amazing work this organization is doing, it is truly remarkable. Sponsor a child, donate money towards providing education supplies or food, fundraise or invest, however little or large it does not go unnoticed by the beautiful children and families in Ethiopia!  
  ~Colleen Bakke (Registered nurse, Regina, Sask.)

April 2014 Newsletter

February Expedition
20 Volunteers traveled to Ethiopia with our February 2014 Expedition Group. Because the group had a wide range of skills, we were able to offer medical care, renovate and paint two education centers and much more! Read about our adventures by Heather, and Colleen on our blog.

Gindo Lethbridge Chapter
January 2014 marked a new Chapter’s birth for Canadian Humanitarian.

We are delighted to announce the formation of a new fundraising Chapter, with an enthusiastic group of volunteers, in Lethbridge, Alberta .

If you would like to begin a chapter in your area contact us.
Child Sponsors Needed

Our Child Sponsorship Program is growing!


Help us sponsor 22 children in Ethiopia in 22 days. Please share to help us reach our goal.

Canadian Humanitarian is also pleased to announce our new programs in Uganda and Malawi. We are very excited to offer Canadian Humanitarian’s unique afterschool program in these countries. Help us sponsor 100 new children by September in time for their new school year!

February 2014 Expedition (Guest Blog Post by Shelly VanB)

The following post was written by one of our volunteers on the February Expedition, we want to be able to share these trips through their eyes and words. Thank you to Shelly for allowing us to use this post. 

What Did You DO?

This trip to Ethiopia, for me was very different from other trips I’ve been involved in. We signed up as part of a Canadian Humanitarian Expedition which meant that we were travelling with an organization that has been working in Ethiopia for the past 10 years. The founders, Dr. Dick and Deb Northcott, have been travelling to Ethiopia over the past 21 years, since adopting two children from there.

Canadian Humanitarian is an organization that I wouldn’t hesitate to send people with. The trip was well organized, their local partners were amazing and did a great job of figuring out logistics with a large team of nurses, doctors, audiologists and construction workers all in the mix. Our guys were able to have supplies ready and available for the most part, and when they needed something extra, men like Bisrat and Ketema were able to take them to the best places to find what they needed and to get them back to the worksite in a timely fashion, which is no small feat in a congested city of millions.

Our role in this expedition was to refurbish a couple of the education support centres that were falling behind in maintenance and getting run down. Stick and mud constructed buildings with 70+ children coming through on a daily basis…imagine the wear and tear. The guys did a great job patching and putting in supports for doorways, filling holes and filing down doors that no longer would close due to the shifting foundations. My role in all of this was to make sure the guys had water when they needed it and to paint when they had finished patching and pasting.

One thing about working with guys like Ken and Wayne and Dan and Dave…they never felt they had done quite enough. They worked hard from the moment they got on site and would have continued to do so had we not literally cleaned up their tools from under them and sent them back to the vans at night. There was much work to be done but they took it on and did a really great job. It’s quite something to watch skilled workers look at something that has been left undone for so long, simply because it’s beyond what someone could figure out to repair, and just get it done, not just done, but with a pride of workmanship and skill that really stood out.

The funniest part about working in Ethiopia with these guys was some of the circumstances they found themselves working in. Like painting an entire, windowless room in the pitch black by headlamp because the power was out. Or, arriving to plaster and paint at a care centre that was preparing meals and a birthday party for over 70 kids on site. We laughed at that one, who would invite kids over for a birthday party and then decide to paint the room while it was going on? And yet, we got it done with minimal painting of children…and honestly, having the laughter and shouts of children in our ears reminded us exactly who we were working for.

It’s not often on a trip that I get home and am able to pinpoint a tangible contribution but on this trip, though my skills didn’t really come into play, I do want to just leave you with some photos of the work that these guys took on. The education support centres play an important role in the work that Canadian Humanitarian does in Ethiopia. Children are able to have a safe place, where they are equals, to come and play, get support with homework, have an adult to listen to them and help them with the struggles of their often difficult lives, and to get a nutritious meal every day. The guys on this team left these places better than they found them. Safe. Bright. Clean. Welcoming.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank again, those who donated supplies to our trip. There were several of you who just passed along a ten or a twenty dollar bill and we used that to buy paint and brushes. There were companies in our city who wish to remain anonymous, that donated all the tools for the work we did, and we left those in the hands of Canadian Humanitarian in Ethiopia for their future use. There were those Pier 1 girls, again, who just continue to be supportive and gather painting supplies or money or just write me a note to let me know they’re with me…I love that you’re with me when I go. Especially, a little friend of mine in California, who prays for me every day that I’m gone or as I’m preparing to leave…Sienna ~ you are changing lives already. You are such a great prayer buddy and I’m so thankful to know that when I’m travelling far from home, you’re thinking of me and praying for me. It means so much! You’re the best. Enjoy the photos….you’re all in every one.

Heroes of Hope 2014 – An Evening With Chris Hadfield

A couple of weeks ago, we had the privilege of spending an evening with an astronaut. Which astronaut? How about Col. Chris Hadfield, the former commander of the International Space Station – and a fellow Canadian!

Why was he taking the time to have dinner with  around 250 of his fans? Well, he came to support something bigger than even himself! He came to support Canadian Humanitarian!

Yes, this was a magnificent fund raiser for Canadian Humanitarian, organized by the Regina, Saskatchewan chapter, and sponsored by K+S Potash Canada. It is a yearly event, called “Heroes of Hope” and they always have fantastic guest speakers.

We arrived in Regina about an hour before the event to help get a few last minute preparations done. It was set up beautifully, and filled the large room at the Conexus Arts center.

Each table had these for the center pieces, which were also auctioned off. They included a variety of astronaut food (way cool) and a copy of Col. Chris Hadfield’s fantastic book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”.

 The event had a silent auction as a part of their fundraising efforts. There were SO MANY fantastic items for absolutely anyone and everyone, including sports memorabilia, purses and jewelry, paintings, and even framed artwork created by the children in the programs run by Canadian Humanitarian (more on that later.) 

Some of the wonderful items they had for their silent auction:

 This was only half of the silent auction display. Like I said – there were SO MANY wonderful and unique items to bid on.


 There were other excited individuals in attendance who were anxious to hear from ,and meet, their hero! This fine looking group of cadets were looking sharp and happy to be there!

Lots of wonderful people came out to support the event!


Canadian Humanitarian’s Heather Woodward and  her husband, Lyle, manning the child sponsorship table. There are a lot of children in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Malawi who need sponsorship so they can benefit from the wonderful programs run by Canadian Humanitarian in their communities.

 There was a lot of media buzz around the event, and different tv stations there to interview Col. Chris Hadfield.

 A lot of people took their time browsing through the silent auction items, placing their bids on their favorite items!

  Some interested folks asking about child sponsorship:




  Lots of posters displaying kids in Africa who can see their dreams realized through the help that Canadian Humanitarian offers !



  We had the wonderful Sheila Coles, host of the CBC Morning Edition in Saskatchewan, not only sit at our table with us, but was a wonderful emcee for the evening.

There was a great turn out for the event!

 As part of the fundraiser, the Regina Public and Catholic School Districts held a rocket – designing contest where children would design, build, and launch a rocket. The four winners who built the best rockets won a limo ride to the event and sat at the same table as Chris Hadfield, who enjoyed dinner with them after his speech. These were a couple of the winning students:


Our Executive Director, Lyndon Grunewald, spoke about the wonderful work that Canadian Humanitarian is doing and garnered even more interest and support for the charity, sharing stories from his experiences during his recent trip to Ethiopia in February and March.


 We will be sharing a post shortly, sharing more details about the amazing experiences we had on our recent expedition to Ethiopia – amazing! But now, back to the fundraiser and Chris Hadfield!

 It was time for Chris Hadfield to speak to us, and he did not disappoint! He shared his experiences from when, as a child, he watched the first moon landing, to his (bumpy) landing after his last mission as commander of the International Space Station – with so much in between. It was a fabulous presentation.

 He was a very engaging speaker and a wonderful story teller!


 His presentation also included stunning photos that he took from the space station, as well as photos that illustrated his journey as an astronaut.

He even serenaded us with his song, I.S.S.:

Chris Hadfield also tirelessly made himself available to each and every one in attendance who wanted to meet him personally. These Cadets were beside themselves with excitement to shake his hand and meet him.




It was a wonderful evening; one that anyone who was there would love to be able to do again. Canadian Humanitarian has similar events in chapters all across Canada (and some starting in the States through Kids Hope Ehtiopia) that you can get involved with any time.

(All photos of this event are courtesy of Bobbi-Jo Grunewald Photography who donated her time, talent, and photos for this event.)


Beyond Belief 2014


Join us for our 6th annual dinner and fundraiser. This year, our keynote speaker is Ted Jaleta, World-class Masters runner, coach, and motivational speaker.

Ted Jaleta was born in Ethiopia. He was on track to become a world-class long distance runner when civil war broke out in Ethiopia in the 1970s. He was caught in a peaceful demonstration, imprisoned and tortured. He escaped with his life and immigrated to  Canada in 1982 as a refugee. Ted credits Canada and its people for giving him a second chance, one that he is repaying over and over by sharing his message of hope, courage, hard work and optimism.

November 19, 2014
Medalta Potteries
Medicine Hat, AB

  Doors open at 5:00pm
Reception at 5:30pm
Dinner at 6:30pm
Keynote address at 8:00pm

Buy Tickets

Hope for Tomorrow 2014 (ticket sales now closed)

5th Annual Hope for Tomorrow
breaking the cycle of poverty in africa

November 5th, 2014
The Westin
Calgary, AB

Doors open at 5:00pm
Reception at 5:30pm
Dinner at 6:30pm
Keynote address at 8:00pm

  Key Note Speaker: Dr Samantha Nutt

Samantha Nutt Toronto, September 29, 2007 Dustin Rabin Photography - Job #2364 One of the most original and influential voices in the humanitarian arena, Dr. Samantha Nutt, a medical doctor and the founder of the internationally renowned non-profit War Child Canada, is a speaker who is constantly in demand. For over 15 years, she has been at the front lines of many of the world’s major crises, in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Darfur.
Dr. Nutt was named one of Canada’s “25 most influential figures” by The Globe and Mail; one of “Canada’s Five Leading Activists” by Time magazine; and one of “200 young global leaders” by the World Economic Forum. She was awarded the “Order of Ontario” in 2010, and appointed to the Order of Canada in 2011.

Ticket Sales close November 2, 2014 (11:59pm)  

Buy Tickets 

Make a Donation

The Self Esteem Class

One of our team members taught a fun class about self esteem.  The children and youth had the chance to hear a story that emphasized how everyone is unique and has something special about them. Then students had a chance to receive a journal to make goals on new skills things they would like to learn, and create a piece of artwork that represented themselves.

Drip Irrigation Team

To help family gardens and the market garden in Gindo, this group brought materials to construct this simple irrigation system. During the dry season, rivers and creeks dry up.  Wells become the source of water for gardens and fields meaning children and women haul water for this as well as their personal needs.
Drip irrigation slowly waters individual plants all day long from a water source. Gravity feeds the water through the hoses to individual plants. The barrel holding the water needs only be filled once a day, and then waters each plant during the day.
  The farmers, gardeners, and families who received these systems were thrilled with the prospect of reduced time, effort and water needed to help their gardens produce!


The Health Class

Our two nurses taught the students about how germs and viruses are spread, and ways they can protect themselves from getting infected. They played a game that taught this concept – germs were picked up as you moved along the board when petting a goat, coughed, or shook hands.
  But if you stopped in-between and washed your hands, then the germs pieces you had collected were all given away. The object of the game was to get to the end with NO germ pieces.  The kids really enjoyed this!

The Film Crew

This group was honoured to have with us a filming crew to record some of our activities and document what Canadian Humanitarian does.  It is our hope that the finished product will be on TV at some time in the spring in 2014. When we hear firm dates, we will be sure to let you know.


We so enjoyed having Rick and Kevin as part of our group. When they were not filming, they pitched in to help wherever they could!

The Medical Team

October’s group had 5 doctors, 2 nurses, and 1 pharmacist in our midst. We completed medicals on the children at Gindo, on children of the Kirkos center, on children at the Kality Center, and on some of the children who needed follow up at the Guelele center.

We again went to the Kersa area, to do intake medicals on the youth and children in this new program, as well as medicals for the Foresight Fathers and their families.

Over all we managed to complete 386 medical examinations, many of which required prescribed medicines!  Sometimes our surroundings were quite simple or primitive, but the care received was very appreciated!

The Fitness Team

Two of our team members brought a Fitness program, and relay race for the students to learn and participate in.  This was modified depending on the age of the group. Kids and staff had a great time learning to do sit ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbing, and others techniques using yoga balls and chairs.

The group left behind a set of yoga balls, exercise instructions, mats so that the youth and children could continue to practice.

Off we go again!

What do you get when you take 25 total strangers who are doctors, nurses, teachers, agronomists, economists or financial experts and put them together for 15 days?  The October 2013 expedition to Ethiopia!
It is always amazing to watch strangers become friends, as they work together to serve others.

Check out our other blog posts to find out about all the wonderful work our expedition teams worked on:

The Sewing Team
The Drip Irrigation Team
The Medical Team
The Fitness Team
Self Esteem Class
The Health Class 
Home Visits 
Film Crew

Home Visits

Volunteers had the opportunity to visit some of the homes of the students of Gindo Town. Home visits honour the guardians of the children. The team was able to thank the guardians for all they do to support their child in school, and attending education sessions at the after school center. The students had the opportunity to host volunteers in their home.  It was a memorable experience for everyone.


Beyond Belief 2013

This year our Dinner and Silent Auction will be held Nov 13, 2013, at Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat.

Tickets are $100 each, or $800 for a table.

ticket sales are now closed

Our keynote speaker for the evening is Frank O’Dea.

As a young man, Frank O’Dea was a homeless person, living on the streets, panhandling for nickels and dimes. Today, he is a celebrated business person. Best known as a founder of The Second Cup, he also was involved in founding a number of other successful international businesses and not-for-profits. These include Proshred Security, War Child Canada, Street Kids International and the Canadian Landmine Foundation. He has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and two Canadian universities have awarded him honorary degrees. This is an inspiring story of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity, which is also recounted in his best-selling book “When All You Have is Hope”. He is also the author of Do-the-Next-Right-Thing: Surving Life’s Crises. Mr. O’Dea’s most recent projects include developing sustainably affordable housing in Sao Paulo. To find out more about Frank O’Dea, you can visit his website

Hope for Tomorrow 2013

4th Annual Hope For Tomorrow: Dinner and Auction

with special guest
Dr. James Orbinsk

Event Details:
The Westin Calgary
November 20, 2013
Reception: 5:30
Ethiopian Fusion Meal: 6:30
Dr. Orbinski: 8:00
Tickets: $200 each Table of 8 $1,300

ticket sales now closed

Hope For Tomorrow is an annual event bringing the best of Canada’s international development practitioners to Calgary to address its business community. In 2013 our event is focused on Canadian Humanitarian’s Kid’s Hope Kirkos Center in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

Kid’s Hope Kirkos:
Canadian Humanitarian’s Kid’s Hope Center focuses on 50 orphaned and vulnerable children, their foster families in the neighbourhood of Kirkos. This programs is focused on orphaned and vulnerable children and assisting them in reaching their potential through education and acting as a launch pad for their education, social and physical development. Provision of tuition, school uniforms and materials, after school tutoring, student run clubs, a hot meal every day and access to health care all serve as catalysts to ensure the children succeed. Our Kid’s Hope Centers also serve as a meeting point for guardians to learn skills, and receive support and training. In Kid’s Hope programs children and families are receiving hope!

James Orbinski Bio:
DR. JAMES ORBINSKI – Humanitarian Advocate and Past President of Doctors Without Borders

Dr. Orbinski is a globally recognized humanitarian practitioner and advocate, as well as one of the world’s leading scholars and scientists in global health. He believes in humanitarianism, in citizenship and in actively engaging and shaping the world in which we live, so that it is more humane, fair and just.

After extensive field experience with Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Dr. Orbinski was elected MSF’s international president from 1998 to 2001. He launched its Access to Essential Medicines Campaign in 1999, and in that same year accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to MSF for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism, and most especially for its approach to witnessing.

Dr. Orbinski worked as MSF’s Head of Mission in Goma, Zaire in 1996 -97 during the refugee crisis. He was MSF’s Head of Mission in Kigali during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, and MSF’s medical co-ordinator in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in the winter of 1994. He was MSF’s medical co-ordinator in Baidoa, Somalia during the civil war and famine of 1992-1993. Dr. Orbinski’s first MSF mission was in Peru in 1992.

For his leadership in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, Dr. Orbinski was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, Canada’s highest civilian award. This citation reads:

“Chief of Mission to Rwanda with Medecins sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders during the Civil War and genocide from April to July 1994, Dr. Orbinski provided an extraordinary service by delivering medical assistance and alleviating the suffering of victims, on both sides of the front line. Unwavering in his efforts, Dr. Orbinski opened the Agha Khan (King Fayed) Hospital in Kigali, in the middle of a contested area that often became the target of mortar and machine gun fire. Through example, he provided inspirational leadership to a multinational team of medical staff and managed to spur their flagging spirits through the bleakest days of the genocide.”

As international president of MSF, Dr. Orbinski represented the organization in numerous humanitarian emergencies and on critical humanitarian issues in among others, the Sudan, Kosovo, Russia, Cambodia, South Africa, India and Thailand. He has also represented MSF at the UN Security Council, in many national parliaments, and to for example, the WHO, and the UNHCR.

Hugs to all!

The kids at Kality are range in age from 4 – 7 years old, and they are just aching for someone to hug and play with them. Dr. Northcott got his chance to play with the kids too— they lined up and were taking running leaps at him, he would catch them, hug them, and then put them down. They loved it! What a great way to end our trip!

Kality May2013

The Gindo Center

We spent two days working on clean up of construction residue at the Gindo Center! Paint off windows, and door handles, extra grout off tile floors, paint from around the clean up area, and then cleaned up the whole central hall area.

2013.May.GindoCleaning We even washed down the tables and chairs from the kids’ dining hall.  It looked BEAUTIFUL when we were done!

Eyerus and Senait

We had the honor of bringing two of our students who are studying medicine (one in nursing college, the other studying to be a health officer) to join us for these three days to learn alongside Dr. Northcott, and to work together as a practicum experience.

They did intake medicals, Susan taught them how to take blood pressure, and learned the technique of medical examination these past two days. As Eyerus said in our discussion at suppertime – “It was a perfect day”.


One of the neatest things about this trip is to be working alongside some of the kids we took into the program years ago, now working with us to provide services to the new kids. As we watch the first generation of graduates enter into the workforce and into professional schools, we feel that all the effort has been worth while. These children have permanently broken the cycle of poverty. I asked Eyrusalem, who is in Health Officer training, what would have happened to her if this program had not been there. Would she be in Health Officer training? “Oh no,” she said, “I would be working as a cleaner or a server.” Imagine the tragedy of having this bright mind working as a cleaner, never able to reach her potential! It is good to be here.

Dr. Northcott

The Tanners come to visit

Ron and Martha Tanner, who have volunteered on a long term basis at our Education Support Centers in the past, now live in Ethiopia, only 30 minutes away from where we were today in Sheshamene.
So they came and joined us for a time. It was great to see them!
Ron- as usual kept the crowds begging for more of his magic tricks. They absolutely love seeing him making a hankie disappear!


Installing the Bio Sand Filtration Systems

The Men and their wives were pretty excited to see the Bio Sand Filtration Units come together. I think they finally started to understand how the filter would purify their water as it ran through these buckets.

Today two of these units were installed to two homes. This first home was a 22 year old man, one of the Foresight Fathers, who has 5 children and two wives (yes polygamy is still practiced in this part of Ethiopia)

This home was on a quiet street in the village with lots of trees, their own backyard garden, stock holding pen and everything! 2013.May.House

The Medical Clinic

We have spent the last two days doing medical, English skill building, art, and bio sand filters in Turge and Kersa Ayele.

This has been Dr. Northcott’s medical clinic. it has two rooms, shade, and walls that are wooden slats so the breeze can blow through. Since it has been about 28 C each day and a bit humid.. this has been the best place to be to work!