Project Kandaria hosts silent auction to benefit medical center in Kenya
Whenever someone in the western Kenyan town of Kandaria gets sick, it’s a 3 mile trip to the doctor. Often, people have to carry patients the whole way via stretcher.
Home to 6,000 people, Kandaria does not have a hospital or a medical clinic. Even women having a difficult labor must make the strenuous trek to receive care.
Project Kandaria, an organization that aims to meet medical needs in western Kenya, teamed up with Waxhaw’s Five Stones Church to host a fundraiser Thursday, Oct. 14, at Cuthbertson Middle School. The event wasn’t over by press time.
Raising money to help the village is the brainchild of 17-year-old Matthews resident Mariah Hughes. Last year, Waxhaw’s Five Stones Church and Carmel Baptist Church of Matthews sent two mission teams to Kandaria. During the trip, the teams helped renovate the school and install pipes that brought the first source of clean water the village had seen.
Hughes, a member of Carmel Baptist, was a part of one of the teams. While in Kenya, she discovered the people of Kandaria have a vital need for local medical care.
“While we were there, we got to hike up that hill,” Hughes said. “It was tough climb for me, and I could only imagine how difficult it would be for these women in labor and children who are sick.”
Hughes was so greatly affected by this situation she decided to take the initiative to raise awareness. She turned to 410 Bridge, a Christian organization based out of Atlanta which focuses on Kenya and works with the people living there to supply resources vital to the communities.
Hughes contacted Kurt Kandler, the director of 410 Bridge, and learned medical care was fourth on the list of Kenyan needs. She explained her vision to Kandler, and he urged her to go for it. The result of her vision is Project Kandaria.
The organization’s goal is to fund the construction of a medical clinic in the village. The center will be built to Kenyan government standards to ensure continued government funding. Plans for the clinic have already been sketched and are displayed on Project Kandaria’s website, www.projectkandaria.org.
Churches team up to raise funds
Five Stones and Carmel Baptist have teamed up with 410 Bridge and Grace Community Church of Pennsylvania to raise $168,000, the amount in U.S. dollars it will take to build a medical center.
“This medical center will have a huge impact,” Hughes said. “Not only will it affect Kandaria, but it will also affect surrounding areas. People will realize the need for medical care in other areas as well and hopefully do something about it.”
So far, more than $40,000 has been raised through Grace Community’s golf fundraisers, 410 Bridge’s grants, and about $12,000 of personal donations through Project Kandaria. “We still have a remaining need of about $123,000,” Hughes said.
Thursday will mark the first time Project Kandaria has hosted a public event to raise funds and increase awareness.
Kandaria’s medical needs do not simply consist of a physical facility. According to Project Kandaria’s website, the village also needs physicians, nurses and other clinical care staff, training for prospective employees, and supplies, such as medicine and operational tools.
Hughes believes public knowledge and involvement is essential to improving the conditions of Kandaria and other communities in need across the globe. “There’s the third world stereotype that these people are just looking for hand-downs,” she said. “They’re really amazing people and some of the most hard-working people I’ve ever seen. They just don’t have all the resources.”
Drew Ezzell, a member of Five Stones, has gained insight to the way their mission teams and Project Kandaria have benefitted the village. He believes Americans can have a dramatic impact on places like Kandaria.
“We need to realize that we in the United States are so much better off than the majority of the world,” Ezzell said. “It is our responsibility as human beings to care for those that lack basic necessities.”
Individuals who were unable to attend Thursday’s event can still get involved. “The No. 1 thing people think about is financial contribution,” Hughes said. Project Kandaria’s website takes donations directly, which are given to 410 Bridge and deposited into a fund area specifically designated for Kandaria’s medical needs.
However, Hughes believes that contribution should not be strictly monetary. “410 Bridge is based on a Bible verse, 1 Peter 4:10, which talks about using your gifts,” she said. “I encourage people to use their gifts, whatever they might be, and get involved, not just in Kandaria, or even Kenya, but in Third World countries everywhere.”