Girl Guides holding raffle to help finance Kenya trek

Matt Gardner
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A local Girl Guide unit has organized a raffle to help fund a Kenyan trip during which they will help build a school for African children.

Girl Guides Megan Moody (left) and Kaylee Hoko of 1st Redwing Trex unit sell raffle tickets on Tuesday at the Gateway Mall. The raffle is part of a long-term effort by local Guides to finance a trip to Kenya in order to help build a school there.

The 1st Redwing Trex Girl Guide Unit will be selling raffle tickets at the Gateway Mall between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. until Saturday to finance the journey.

In addition, they will also be selling tickets on the day of the draw itself -- Saturday, April 20 -- at the mall until 4 p.m.

“We’re raising money to travel to Kenya to do a two-week program … that involves community development (and) working alongside the community members,” unit Guider Brenda Lee said.

“That’s working with building a school, a health program, learning about their water facilities … The girls will be taking part in leadership training so that when they come back to Canada, they can continue to use some of the skills that they’ve learned to make a difference in Canada.”

Raffle tickets cost $2 each. First prize is a Mini Quad 110cc donated by Allied Blower and a NAPA helmet. Second prize is a youth bike and helmet -- donated respectively by Comfort Inn and the Krip Family -- while third prize consists of a youth Ski-Doo snowsuit donated by the Pines Service Centre.

Local Guide Kaylee Hoko could be seen hawking tickets at the mall on Tuesday as the raffle sale kicked off in earnest.

“It’s going to be a really good experience,” Hoko, 14, said of the long-planned trip.

“I’ve never been outside of Canada before.”

Hoko and four other girls will travel to Kenya with Me to We, a for-profit social enterprise that provides socially responsible products and services, donating half of its profits to the charity Free the Children.

Hoko’s Girl Guide unit has spent the better part of a year raising money to finance the trip to Kenya through cookie sales and fundraising events. The trip will take place in 2014, leaving them until April of that year to make the necessary payments.

Thus far this spring, the unit has already sold 278 boxes of cookies. They are also actively looking for corporate sponsors.

Raffle ticket sales were off to a decent start on Tuesday, considering the relatively low level of activity at the mall that day.

We’re raising money to travel to Kenya to do a two-week program … that involves community development (and) working alongside the community members. Brenda Lee

“It’s good,” Hoko said. “It’s kind of slow, but it’s really good.”

As the focal point for their Kenyan trip, the girls will take part in the building of a school about an hour outside of Nairobi (“just laying bricks and putting in windows” 14-year-old Guide Megan Moody explained).

“We’ll be doing like the actual physical building, and then we’ll also be talking to the people who go there,” Hoko said.

Me to We provides the funds for the school itself, but the girls must cover their own travel costs.

Though the school is the focus of the trip, the Guides also plan to get a broader taste of life in Kenya.

“They’re taking us on a safari, and we’ll be working with different people and seeing what they do in Kenya and what it’s like to be there,” Hoko said.

Besides building the school, the girls will spend a day hauling water from the river to people’s homes with local women who perform this task on a daily basis, as well as learning how to clean water.

At the end of each day, they will have the opportunity to participate in a vibrant cultural exchange.

“Evenings have a lot of cultural education that goes on … learning some Swahili, learning about the local traditions and trying food, song and dance so we learn more about the local culture that we’re going to be immersed in,” Lee said.

Yet the girls also expect to learn about more about the real socioeconomic differences that separate Canada from Kenya.

Hoko pointed to the different opportunities available to children in the two countries.

“It’ll be different because they don’t go to school yet and we do all the time, and it’ll be a good experience,” she said.

“It’ll be different because we have so much, and they don’t have very much at all.”

Organizations: Comfort Inn, Ski-Doo, Pines Service Centre

Geographic location: Kenya, Canada, NAPA Nairobi

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