On September 26th, the 4th annual Voices for Heshima benefit concert took place in the CVR auditorium. With a matinee and evening show over 300 people gathered to witness a wonderful array of talent with participants of all ages.
It was never a part of her life plan, she says. In 2008, at the age of 19, Hemmingford native Lexis Beattie took her first trip to Kenya to volunteer in an orphanage for 3 months. After having such a strong impact on both Beattie and the children, she knew she’d be back again someday.
Heshima means Respect, Honor and Dignity in Kenya’s national language of Swahili. Contrary to popular belief, many of the children who live in orphanages in Kenya are not there because they are orphans or are entirely alone. They are there because their family cannot provide them with education, which is a vital part of their growth. This became Heshima’s main focus.
Heshima doesn’t run an orphanage or build schools. They do however find families and provide them with the quality education partnering with already existing schools that share the same values.
Five years later Heshima has expanded to education inside and outside the classroom and now have 4 different pillars: Education, Leadership, Football (soccer) and Dance not Drugs.
The education program currently has 20 students. The oldest student will soon be graduating from College in Community, Health and Development. The leadership program is mandatory to all of the students. With this program they are taught to give back to the community by providing care of the elderly and leadership training for the youth. The Heshima FC (football club) has made a tremendous change in over 100 boys lives. Coach Fred plans to start a girl’s team this year too. The Dance not Drugs program is used to keep the youth on a positive track.
There were many efforts to raise money at the concert, which included a delicious bake sale and the sale of gorgeous handmade jewelry and accessories that are imported from a local market in Nairobi. There was also a 50/50 draw in which the winner donated her winnings directly back to the cause. Proving that the littlest gestures can go a long way. Though there is not a final tally yet, they raised around $8000. 100% of that goes to Heshima.
If anyone missed the show or would like to donate to Heshima, they can do so by mailing a cheque addressed to Heshima, 50 Covey Hill Road, Hemmingford, QC, J0L IH0. For more information contact Lexis at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 438-823-2582. Being a small and effective organization your donations go directly to the source.