Inverness County Cares

Partners in Development

Author: Inverness County Cares Page 2 of 5

Emmanuel’s Story

This is the story of Emmanuel a teacher at St Charles Lwanga Secondary School (SCLSS) in Nairobi Kenya.

My name is Mr. Emmanuel Machanja, the Geography and Religion teacher at SCLSS. I come from a very humble background, the ninth in a family of 12, three of whom have passed on. My father died while we were very young, He was asthmatic and we couldn’t afford his medication. He left the full responsibility to my mother who was a peasant farmer. Life was not easy; getting food was a problem and getting school fees was a big challenge and most of us dropped out of school.

In my primary education, I studied at a school six kilometers away from home, where we would walk each day without food.  Life was not fair and there were times when I almost dropped out to help my mother with our family.

Fortunately one of my teachers, Madam Josephine, (God rest her soul in eternal peace) paid for my school fees and I was able to complete my primary education. I qualified for a provincial secondary school but I had to I stay out of school for one year since I didn’t have the school fees. I later was able to join a school when my mother borrowed a shirt, shoes and trousers from my neighbor whose son had completed his schooling. Life was not easy in secondary school and I was often sent home for lack of school fees. In secondary school I worked so hard and I attained a very good grade so I could be accepted to university. My mother was happy I had completed secondary school but her major challenge was the university fees.

I was accepted at many universities but was unable to go because of lack of fees. I decided to volunteer in my neighboring school through which the headmistress linked me with Brother John Kennedy Oronjo. He welcomed me at SCLSS where I served as teacher and a boarding master. After one term he decided to sponsor me to join the university. I owe him much gratitude for that. I worked so hard both at the university and at the SCLSS. I completed my University education this year in April and graduated in July the same year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

I thank God and all those I have mentioned, for this and I am working so hard to improve the living standard of my mother and those who live together with her. Thank you.

Thai Dinner Thanks

Inverness County Cares wants to thank our friends and neighbours for their support of our fundraising Thai dinner on Saturday November 18th. Forty-eight people were served and judging by the plates that came back to the kitchen, they enjoyed their meal. Betty Jane Cameron gave a passionate account of her time spent living with the students at the St Charles Lwanga School for 2 month and shared with joy, that she will return this January for 3 months. Fr. Duncan MacIsaac also shared his experiences and the love and hope he experienced at the school. We thank our guests for their interest in our school and their inquiries about the students.

Thank you to our kitchen workers and planners, Flo Campbell, Charlotte Rankin, Susan and Sam Moran, Karen and Tom Wager, Sheila MacDonell, Winnie Rankin, Elaine Rankin, Camille Chapman and Colleen MacLeod.

Thank you to the wonderful young ladies from the Students Helping Our World (SHOW) group from Dalbrae Academy who worked as servers. They were so professional and efficient. Thanks also to their teacher Melissa Cummings for bringing us together.

Alexandra Beaton , Maeve Gillis , Grace MacDonald , Catherine Beaton , Sarah Wilson , Taylor Aylward

Thanks to John Gillies for his services as MC. As usual he did a great job of welcoming our guests and keeping the evening on track. Thank you to Susan Mallette for help with decoration and RJ Poirier for help with technology.

We give thanks we live in a place where people are eager and willing to give their time to help their brothers and sisters no matter how far away. Thank you all!

Several people asked for the recipes. They are posted below.

Jerry Sprinrolls

 Thai red curry meatballs

Pumpkin curry soup

Thai salad

Pad Thai

Coconut Cream Cake

Visit to Dalbrae Academy

Today Inverness County Cares (ICC) members John MacInnis, Betty Jane Cameron, Charlotte Rankin and Colleen MacLeod visited the Dalbrae Academy which is located in Mabou, Nova Scotia.

The Dalbrae Academy Students Helping Our World (SHOW) group led by their teacher Melissa Cummings have been strong supporters of the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School for the past 5 years. They have provided the school with new efficient cook stoves, sewing machines, a photocopier and printer as well as money for food. Their 2017 fundraising gift was $1100 toward the purchase of land for a new school in the Homabay area.

This visit to the Dalbrae Academy was to brief the students on the events at the school and to thank the students for their generous support.

Betty Jane Cameron has visited the Lwanga School on two occasions, for one month in 2016, two months in 2017 and she plans to go again in 2018 for 3 months. Today Betty Jane spoke to the Dalbrae students about the lives of the St Charles Lwanga students. She explained how their diet in mainly vegetarian (not by choice) and the main menu staple is corn/maize. They have it for all meals with some beans and no seasonings or flavourings. There is no fruit and cabbage is occasionally on the menu. Life in Kenya is a challenge as food prices are high due to unrest in the country and famine.

The Lwanga students are very grateful for the assistance provided by their friends at Dalbrae Academy and are very aware that the cook stoves came from Dalbrae.

We are so proud of our Dalbrae students and thank their parents, school and community for instilling in them a sense of responsibility toward their sisters and brothers worldwide.

Asante  (Thank you in Swahili)


Dine on Thai with Inverness County Cares

Dear friends;
Saturday November 18th, Inverness County Cares will host a Thai Dinner at the Judique fire hall at 6:30.
Guest speakers will be Betty Jane Cameron and Fr Duncan MacIsaac.
The menu is being developed and will be posted on this website when it is complete.
Come for an interesting and entertaining evening with your friends and neighbors.
Admission: Your donation
 There will be a cash bar.
Contact Flo Campbell for reservations. 902 787 2092.
Thank you for your support.


Sustainable Agriculture

St Charles Lwanga Secondary School and Children’s Centre is located in Ruai, Nairobi Kenya. The school is supported by Inverness County Cares (ICC), an Inverness County, NS based volunteer group and Chalice Canada, an international aid group based in Halifax. The school is involved in educational partnerships with several international groups and they also receive assistance for essential needs from other global supporters.

This month we will focus on an agriculture worker at the school. Thomas was a student leader (head boy) at St Charles Lwanga School who demonstrated great potential. Shortly after graduation from Form 4 (Grade 12) he was hired at a factory and was advancing in his position. Unfortunately he was involved in a workplace accident, which resulted in the loss of the thumb and index finger on his right hand. He is from an impoverished family with no father present and his mother has passed away. He is responsible for the care of his 7-year old brother who lives with him. In 2014 school headmaster, Br Kennedy hired him to take care of the school grounds and garden and this provided him with enough money to rent a small room for himself and his brother and to pay his brother’s school tuition and personal needs.

Thomas’ life and prospects brightened when he became involved in a Kenyan program introduced by a Go Global, a Vermont non-profit partner of St Charles Lwanga and by the University of Vermont.  With their encouragement, he was trained in a program which will lead the St Charles Lwanga School and other affiliated schools, toward sustainable agriculture.

Thomas was introduced to permaculture by The Permaculture Institute- Kenya and trained in basics of permaculture in a two-week Permaculture Design Course.   He will continue to partner with Permaculture Institute-Kenya based in Nairobi.

Permaculture is defined as: the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems, which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Graham Bell, The Permaculture Way.  

He is presently traveling near the area of the proposed new St Charles Lwanga School where he is working with Mr Jeremiah ad sharing his knowledge and agricultural skills with the residents of Rodi a community near HomaBay and Lake Victoria. He is educating the children and adults of these communities and is working with them to build garden plots for vegetables. This coming January representatives of University of Vermont will work with him to expand his learning and involve more local people and students in this program. Thomas will provide agricultural leadership at the much anticipated, future St Charles Lwanga School. This new school will be located in a fertile agricultural area near Lake Victoria.

St Charles Lwanga School is always interested in volunteers wanting to work at the school. Contact numbers are available on our webpages.

Thomas watering trees.

Classes with community members.

Thomas in brown shirt in center

Thomas  teaching



2016-17 Progress

St Charles Lwanga School (SCL) progress facilitated by Inverness County Cares (ICC) and Chalice during 2016-17

  • SCL received a monthly budget to cover simple and healthy food and nutrition for the students.
  • ICC reached its $60,000 fundraising goal, which was matched by Chalice Canada.
  • ICC member, Betty Jane Cameron, a nurse/midwife and music teacher, spent six weeks at SCL mentoring, teaching music and organizing ground work for a school safety policy.
  • ICC member, Rev. Duncan MacIsaac, then parish priest in Inverness and Broad Cove, spent ten days at SCL, celebrating Eucharist with staff and students as well as counseling and mentoring.
  • While in Kenya, Betty Jane and Fr. Duncan participated in a school evaluation day with representatives of Chalice and SCL with a vision of future development.
  • ICC and Chalice contributed to the funeral expenses student of Stanley Wanjala, who died in March 2017.
  • Forty-three students graduated from SCL and three merited scholarships to continue with university studies.
  • ICC requested and received a formal Child Protection Policy from the SCL administration.
  • ICC continued to work co-cooperatively with students at Dalbrae Academy who fund-raised for SCL
  • ICC and Chalice representatives met twice to plan and develop our partnership to best help SCL.
  • Much needed new toilets and wash areas were built at SCL and the older ones upgraded.
  • ICC and Chalice budgeted $1500 to have preliminary planning drafted on developing a new space and rural school for the SCL students.
  • ICC, outside our regular fundraising, solicited sufficient funding to purchase five acres of land. The new school property of ten acres will cost of $30,000.
  • ICC members and associates provided scholarships to SCL graduates for further studies.
  • ICC and Chalice continued to fund infirmary medications, school uniforms and supplies including textbooks, pens and pencils, lab supplies and fees associated with internet and telephone access.
  • ICC has developed its own website ( as well as the SCL website (, keeping both current on a monthly basis.
  • Brothers of St. Charles Lwanga built a new chapel for the SCL students.

Inverness County Cares and Chalice Meeting

Inverness County Cares members and Chalice. Back row left to rt Peter Gordon, John Gillies, Charlotte Rankin, Ted Van Zutphen, Fr. Duncan MacIsaac, Sehne Connel, Fr Pat Cosgrove. Front: Colleen MacLeod, Hermina Van Zutphen, Jenna LeBlanc, Betty Jane Cameron, Mary Anne MacKinnon, John MacInnis.

Tuesday October 24th, a group of Inverness County Cares members traveled to Halifax to meet with Chalice to discuss their partnership through which support is provided to the St Charles Lwanga School in Ruai, Nairobi.

Thank you to the Marthas.

Friday Evening October 20th, a number of Inverness County Cares members traveled to Bethany, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Martha in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. They brought with them a number of talented performers who put on a concert for the sisters in appreciation of the Sisters’ donation to the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Ruai, Nairobi, Kenya. It was a lovely evening where ICC members were able to convey to the sisters their gratitude for their generous donation. The evening started with a presentation by Betty Jane Cameron and Colleen MacLeod updating the sisters on the events at the school over the past year. The sisters viewed a thank you video made by Vyulence Kagea and Claire Whitney, two students from St Charles Lwanga School. The concert followed with performances by Sarah MacInnis, Ben and Harvey Van Zutphen, John Donald Cameron, Cathy Hawley and Ian Cameron. Fr. Duncan MacIsaac also gave a short inspirational talk about his experiences at the St Charles Lwanga School. Tea and snacks were served by the Marthas as all took advantage of the opportunity to exchange stories and chat.

For best viewing of slide show click on picture, then advance by arrows on the side.


St Charles Lwanga School Daily Schedule

St Charles Lwanga Secondary School (SCLSS) and Children’s Centre is located in Ruai, Nairobi, Kenya. It is a residential school for orphans, children from families who do not have the means to send them to school and street children. The school is situated on approximately half an acre and has 280 students. Daily life at SCLSS is very organized and all students are responsible for the daily upkeep and cleaning of the school. They are supported by Inverness County Cares and Chalice Canada.

Students and staff are up at 4:30 AM when they wash and dress. Whole school prayers are held from 5:00 -5:30 and after prayers the students wash dishes, clean latrines and dorms, collect garbage and do chores that keep the school clean and efficient.

At 6:00 they line up for breakfast of maize porridge. They dress, shine shoes and go to study hall at 7:00 with classes beginning at 8:00 except on Monday and Friday when they all gather for the whole school assembly where school issues are dealt with. Classes run from 8-1 with a 20-minute break with a snack of Mandazi, a Kenyan sweet similar to doughnuts. The teacher lectures and students copy and memorize notes for exams, as there are very few textbooks available. The students sit in very crowded hot corrugated metal classrooms, 3-4 to a desk and when someone needs to exit they have to climb over all the desks to reach the door. 1:00 to 1:30 is lunch of mixed beans, maize (corn) and lots of ugali (thick maize porridge). During times of food shortages they eat the same menu every day. 1:30-4:00 classes are held as well as group discussions and individual study.

4:00-5:00 is activity time, debating, sports, agriculture, music-club (voice and individual instrument instruction). Between 5-6 is personal time, laundry, personal ablutions, hanging out with friends or more music lessons.

6-6:30 is supper time with same menu as noon. The school gathers for prayers with a great deal of singing from 6:30-7:00. Students study and review their lessons from 7:30-9:30. After this they have free time from 9:00-10:00 which they spend planning activities and preparing for next day. Bedtime is at 10:00

This busy schedule keeps the students meaningfully engaged and develops a strong work ethic.

A Huge Thank You to All Supporters and ICC Members

Sunday August 6th Inverness County Cares (ICC) hosted their 4th annual pizza sale  in aid of the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya.

A sincere thank you, to Ted and Hermina Van Zutphen who opened their beautiful home to Inverness County Cares for our pizza sale. Both Ted and Hermina have worked tirelessly to make this happen. Ted stood at the pizza oven for hours in the rain and had to change his clothes 3 times because of the torrential rain. Hermina worked many hours organizing the purchase of supplies and set up of the working area and workers. A very special thank you to Ted and Hermina who also donate all the supplies needed for the pizzas….for four years.

Thank you to our regular ICC members and our auxiliary members who show up when we need a powerful workforce. Approximately 40 people came out to help despite the fact August 6 was part of the Port Hood Chestico Days festival. All ages gladly participated and gave their time to ensure St Charles Lwanga Secondary School children have access to food, shelter and education.

A big thank you to the Bank of Nova Scotia for their sponsorship. We certainly appreciate the donation. Thank you to the Hawk Radio and our newspapers The Inverness Oran, The Port Hawkesbury Reporter and the Cape Breton Post who so generously share our story and provided publicity. Thank you to the Clove Hitch Restaurant and Bistro for their support during crust making which was so crucial and made the process much more efficient.

Thank you to our local people…and those far away, who bought pizzas and donated money to our cause. We appreciate your support so very much.

Despite the heavy rain, cancellation of the boat parade and fireworks (events which bring people in) the sale was very successful.  ICC members and supporters are breathing a sigh of relief but are experiencing a high thinking of all that was accomplished.


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