Healing Our World (HOW)

HOW logo What is HOW (Healing our World)?

HOW (Healing our World) is a way our congregation is puts our principles into action. Members and friends propose projects and then everyone is asked to vote on funding the top three projects that help heal our world.

Over the past 10 years, through 25 Healing Our World projects, our congregation has helped feed kids, build schools, provide solar power, empowered widows, given local teens a safe place to gather, helped African beekeepers … the list goes on. HOW is a special outreach program since the projects are sponsored by individual  members and supported solely through generous donations from fellow congregants and friends.

This year’s HOW recipient was the registered charity Help Lesotho. This charity conducts a program called Change Her Life.

The target had been to raise $4,700 for a project called Change Her Life in Lesotho, central South Africa. In fact, you contributed $6,400 that will go to the registered Canadian charity in Ottawa named Help Lesotho.

When girls and young women are menstruating they are often unable to attend school or even leave their houses. Change Her Life has partnered with a local sewing school in Lesotho to make and distribute washable sanitary kits that last up to three years. This means that each kit can keep a girl in school for 150 days that she might otherwise miss.

Through this project, girls will learn to make healthy, informed decisions about their bodies, will be able to stay in school while menstruating, and will be empowered to be proud of the young women they are.

When girls and young women are menstruating they are often unable to attend school or even leave their houses.

For more information about HOW please email one of the HOW team members: Don and Clare Vipond, Ruth Polzer-Telford or Leslie Gillett.

Thank you for your interest in compassionate action.

Past HOW projects:

2006 – rebuild a school in Sierra Leone: $21,500

2007 – provide a single parent, working poor, local family with a subsidy of $300 a month for a year. The congregation liked that project enough to provide that subsidy for three single-parent working-poor families: $10,800

2008 Project #1 – guarantee 10 orphaned children 10 years of education as well as health care for the host families in Ghana: $8,000; Project #2 – provide the funds to build 100 communal toilets in Kenya that would reduce the amount of disease carried by flies: $7,000

2009 Project #1 – help fund 140 micro-loans to women entrepreneurs in the developing world through Kiva.org. We committed to reloan the money for five years: $3,200; Project #2 – support a local family living in poverty by paying their rent for one year: $6,000

2010 Project #1 – feed 100 orphans, in South Africa, for one year whose parents had died from AIDS: $12,000; Project #2 – helped subsidize young teens attending ‘The Power of Hope’ summer camp here in B.C.: $10,000

2011 Project #1 – pay the school fees for Burmese children living in refugee camps in Thailand: $3,567; Project #2 – fix a roof for a library at a school in Sierra Leone: $2,000; Project #3 – riverbank restoration for farmers in Nepal: $5,000; Project #4  – feed injured animals at Victoria’s Wild ARC: $3,160

2012 Project #1- feeding 30 kids at Brown’s Town Primary in Jamaica every school day for a year: $3,400; Project #2 – supply Rev. Al Tysick with the goods he needs to care for members of the street community afflicted with addictions or mental illness: $5,000; Project #3 – cover the cost of the host Drum and Emcee for the Yellow Wolf Powwow: $2,400

2013 Project #1 – Victoria Human Exchange Society. Rehousing 12 people off the streets: $4,800; Project #2 – Rwanda Widows and Orphans Project. Refurbishing homes in Rwanda and provide drinking water and stoves to 20 widows: $4,200; Project#3 – Schizophrenic Society. Purchase of integrated-tracking information system: $5,000

2014 Project #1 – Thirty destitute Tanzanian women from rural areas given (and trained how to use) solar powered devices to earn income recharging cell phones: $5,250; Project #2 –  Classroom rented and the salaries of three teachers paid for one year in an existing charitable school in slums of Pune, India: $3,800; Project #3 – A multi-purpose room for a preschool in Jamaica: $800.

2015 Project #1 – The Teens2Twenties Support Group (ages 15-25) was fully funded ($5,000) to help to keep the program running between September, 2015, and August, 2016. The Greater Victoria group provides tools and support for those with a mental illness. Project #2 – Beekeeping in Rwanda was fully funded ($4,750) to buy new hives and protective gear, a centrifugal honey extractor, and stainless storage tanks for 30 Rwandan families trained in basic beekeeping.

2016 Project #1 – Help a long-running half-way house in Victoria do some much-needed upgrading. Project #2 – Support a winter homeless shelter run by the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo. More than $8,000 was raised for the two HOW projects.