Children’s Sanctuary of Namibia Society Love in Action!
DLSF ’s relationship with the Children’s Sanctuary Namibia and Jeanne’s fund raising efforts began in 2012 when Helge Mercker visited the Fikes in Gibsons and told them of the plight of the San community of Drimiopsis. The San are the Indigenous people of Africa who in 1991 lost their ancestral land-based way of life through re-settlement in Drimiopsis, becoming dependent on mainstream society yet cut off from it because lack of access to jobs, health care, transportation and education. Dispossession of their land-based way of life and isolation from the dominant culture results in unemployment, hopelessness and food insecurity. Drug and alcohol use continues to leave many children orphaned and vulnerable due to HIV/AIDS.
A 2013 study in Drimiopsis identified 14 double parent orphans and 71 single parent orphans with many more undocumented because no relatives could be found to provide the information required for documentation. Since 2013 these numbers have grown alarmingly.
To serve this dire need, Helge established the Children’s Sanctuary Namibia (CSN) charity which began by feeding up to 200 children weekly through an outdoor soup kitchen. Through DLSF and their many other fund-raising initiatives, the Fikes have played a vital role in mobilizing support for this work.
In 2015, Terry Adler visited Helge and witnessed the conditions at Drimiopsis. Upon her return home, she set up a sister charity, Children’s Sanctuary Namibia Society (CSNS) to support CSN’s efforts to secure a future for the most vulnerable children by building a sanctuary to house, educate and care for them.
The CSNS board is proud to announce that, as of October 2018, it has been granted charitable status by the Canada Revenue Agency! All donations made by Canadian citizens are now tax deductible. Please visit CSNS’ website to learn more about, and hopefully, contribute to our work: www.childrenssanctuarynamibiasociety.com
President’s Report for CSNS 2018 AGM
Much has been accomplished by our six person board since our first planning meeting on September 4th of 2017. We incorporated as a society, prepared the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) application with the able assistance of lawyer Mary Childs, hired an accountant, prioritized our first year objectives, drafted a proposed budget, created a website, were gifted with a logo designed by a professional artist, (Professor Mimi Gellman of Emily Carr University, a founding board member), and with the invaluable assistance of Jeanne and Al Fike, the efforts of Canyon Heights Primary School teachers, and help from our friendship networks, we exceeded our first year fundraising goals!
We have been inspired by the tremendous support of friends and community members who, in spite of CSNS not yet being a registered charity, generously donated time, talent, goods, services and money. Our fund raising initiatives included a House Concert at the Fike’s home in Gibsons featuring the talented Jill Shatford and fellow musicians, a workshop at the First United Spiritualist Church in Burnaby, BC, a plant sale by one of our board members that ignited interest in CSNS throughout her neighbourhood, a High Tea in honour of a board member’s birthday (again, featuring the multi-talented Jill Shatford, this time as a performance artist). Yet another board member started the “Pops for Namibia” campaign in Canyon Heights Primary School, selling popsicles while raising awareness of the Kindergarten program in Namibia. As well, monthly donations continue to increase on our on-line donation vehicle, Pay Pal, accessible through our website, www.childrenssanctuarynamibiasociety.com.
Helge Mercker, our inspiration and agent in Namibia, with active participation from her Children’s Sanctuary Namibia board members, ensured the success of our first project, the Sanveld Kindergarten Food Program, providing two meals daily, five days a week, for 44 children of the San community of Drimiopsis.
We are happy to report that as we begin our second year as a charity, we have received charitable status from Canada Revenue Agency! Our work to transform the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Drimiopsis, Namibia continues, hopefully with your help!
With love and gratitude from the CSNS board of directors:
Terry Adler, President
Ellen Besso, Vice-President
Betty Owen, Treasurer
Judy Dunbar, Secretary
Diane Mawson, Member at large
Helge Mercker, Member at large
The CSNS Board: (From Left) Betty Owen, Treasurer; Ellen Besso, Vice-President; Terry Adler, President; Diane Mawson, Board Member at Large; Judy Dunbar, Secretary; (Front) Helge Mercker, CSNS Agent & CSNS & Children’s Sanctuary Namibia Board Member
The new kindergarten building at CSN, in Drimiopsis, Namibia