Hope for All Nations Developments and Sustainability (HANDS Canada) is a local charity organization that sends support to a Kindergarten to grade six school in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They held a faspa fundraiser to help generate more support.
Treasurer, Harold Hamm says the school had 120 students when HANDS first took over, but the building was no more than a set of four walls. Only one year later, school attendance grew to 230 kids. As of September in 2018, 430 students were enrolled.
"Now all of the sudden we had to put a second story, we had to find resources to help these kids [and] put a second story on the building. We did that and it actually all got accomplished amazingly well," says Hamm.
Along with sending funds to help build and repair the school, a number of businesses from the Pembina Valley have donated writing instruments, notebooks, and other school supplies that help keep the cost down for parents sending their children to the school. Each month cost $4.50 per student.
Hamm notes, "some can pay and some can't, so when they can't, that's when we step in and subsidize and say, 'No. You have to stay in school. We'll pay for it."
Board member, Arian Debekker adds, "it's a very dangerous country, it's rich in minerals. It is a country that has 78 million people, but very few people have access to all that wealth that could be generated - or is generated - but is only in the hands of a very few select people."
One requirement for African schools is that the children must wear a uniform., so HANDS rented a sewing shop near the school to keep uniform costs as low as possible.
"They're taking orders for making uniforms for other schools, not just for ours, so it's become a commercial entity where there's a profit. The money from it goes back into the school," Hamm says.
Approximately 90 people attended the faspa fundraiser, and roughly $2,600 was raised. On behalf of the committee, Hamm would like to thank the community for their tremendous support thus far.