Inverness County Cares

Partners in Development

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Cape Breton Post Article

Inverness group helping Kenyan kids

Inverness County Cares hosts pizza sale Sunday

Christian Roach
Published on August 4, 2017

Volunteers, left to right, Karen Wager, Patsy Wayling and Bonnie Boulton prep pizzas at last year’s Inverness County Cares annual pizza sale.

©Submitted photo/Inverness County Cares

PORT HOOD, N.S. – This weekend a local charity will be selling more than 300 pizzas to help a school in Kenya.

On Sunday, Inverness County Cares will host its fourth annual pizza sale in Port Hood with proceeds going to St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya.

The school was started in 2012 by Brother John Kennedy Oronjo, a member of the St. Charles Lwanga Brothers of Kenya. The group is comprised of religious brothers, dedicated to the care of youth, traditionally through education.

In 2012, Oronjo became acquainted with John MacInnis, a member of the Inverness County Cares organization.

“I threw the idea out to the group that we could donate $500 a month to the school because that’s what Brother Kennedy said could feed the 100 or so students attending for a month and they all agreed,” said MacInnis.

Six months later, two members of the Inverness group travelled to Nairobi to visit the school and learned they lacked basic amenities like water so the monthly donation was raised to $800.

In 2015, Inverness County Cares entered into a three-year deal with the charity, Chalice Canada in Bedford. The partnership enabled the Inverness group to increase its contribution to the school to $60,000 a year with a matching $60,000 a year from Chalice.

The goal was to have the school become self-sufficient and sustainable, explained John Gillies, a retired teacher and member of Inverness County Cares.

Having St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School navigate its own finances and give the now, 280 students what they need, has been important to both Inverness County Cares and Chalice.

“We worked out a partnership deal with (Chalice) whereby $120,000 per year is sent to the school, only after a detailed budget is worked out so that we know exactly where the money is going,” said Gillies.

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To raise the $60,000, the Inverness group enlists businesses, people from the community and across Canada to donate what they can.

The group’s largest fundraiser is its annual pizza sale, which accounts for roughly 10 per cent of its charitable earnings.

The pizza sale is a huge undertaking that requires dozens of volunteers, organization and countless hours of preparation.

Colleen MacDonald, a member of Inverness County Cares who helps organize the pizza sale, said it isn’t an easy task.

“About three weeks ago we went over to the Clove Hitch restaurant … and made 317 crusts and froze them, so they’re ready to go,” said MacDonald.

On pizza day, dozens of volunteers will help produce more than 300 pizzas. In the morning the choppers and graters prepare the cheese and toppings and a production line to top the pizzas is formed. The pies are cooked in an outdoor wood-fired oven.

“It’s a very positive and good feeling to know that people here in Inverness County are able to think globally but act locally in terms of improving lives of these children in a distant land,” said Gillies.

The pizza sale happens on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. at 209 Main St., Port Hood and continues until the last pizza is sold.

For more information on the sale and the children of St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School, visit or

Thank you

Inverness County Cares wishes to thank our supporters who make our pizza sales such a success. This year despite very inclement weather …which cancelled the boat parade and fireworks, we sold a large amount of pizzas. Thank you to our workers who make the event happen. We truly appreciate the time you devote to our cause.  We are so fortunate to have such a strong support base.

Making Pizza – How it’s Done

Sunday August 6th, (10AM until sell out) Inverness County Cares (ICC) will host their 4th annual pizza sale at 209, Main Street, Port Hood, in aid of the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya. This event has proven to be a major fundraiser in the campaign to support the school. Preparation for this event begins about a month in advance. The process involves the recruiting of workers, calculating and ordering of ingredients, preparing schedules and reviewing notes and information on last year’s event. The crusts are prepared in advance, by a crew of a dozen workers. For the three previous years Hermina and Ted Van Zutphen’s kitchen was taken over by workers mixing, weighing, rolling, shaping and pre-cooking the crusts. This year the Clove Hitch Restaurant offered use of their kitchen, so from 5:30 AM to 11:30AM the restaurant kitchen was taken over by ICC workers. The two restaurant ovens and a great working space enabled ICC workers to produce 337 crusts. Taste tests were engaged in and the pizza made with Hermina’s crust recipe was declared delicious.

On Pizza day a multitude of volunteers descend on the spacious kitchen of Ted and Hermina Van Zutphen. Producing over 300 pizzas in a day takes many hands. Early morning the choppers and graters prepare the cheese and toppings. By 9:30 the large dining room table is transformed into a production line where prepared ingredients are applied to the crusts according to recipe. Central to all the activity is the large outdoor wood-fired brick pizza oven built by Alan MacIsaac. It can reach temperatures of 800C and quickly cooks our four varieties of pizza. Volunteers consist of ICC members but also include a large number of community supporters, including a sponsorship from Scotia Bank.

When the flour dust settles in the late evening of Pizza day, a very tired group of happy workers celebrate their relationship with this very basic school, while they think about three hundred hopeful children who are provided with an education, their only way to break the cycle of poverty. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

A sincere thank-you to our members, volunteers, supporters, The Clove Hitch and especially to Ted and Hermina Van Zutphen, who have covered the cost of all pizza ingredients for the last 4 years.

Pizza Sale Sunday August 6th

Inverness County Cares is doing it again! We will be selling delicious pizza, cooked in an outside wood fired oven. Sunday August 6th.
Pre-sale by E-transfer.
State the kind: veg, meat-lovers, pep and cheese or works. Also state time you would like to pick up. We will also be pre-selling at locations which  will be posted later. This is Inverness County Cares’ main fundraiser to support the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya.

July 2017- Inverness County Cares Acquires Additional Partners

Inverness County Cares Acquires Additional Partners
Inverness County Cares (ICC) in partnership with Chalice Canada supports the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School (SCLSS) in Ruai, Nairobi, Kenya. The school provides an education for 280 students who are either homeless, orphaned or from families struggling to survive on an income that does not include a place in the budget for school fees. We are proud to say that reports out of Kenya report that the SCLSS is gaining a reputation as a well managed school with a strong emphasis on serving students’ varied needs.
One of our main goals is independence and sustainability for the school. We are working with this proverb in mind. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Over the past three years ICC and SCLSS and more recently Chalice, have forged a working partnership with the Vermont Center for International Learning Partnership (VCILP). This is a Burlington, Vermont, based group interested in promoting learning in Kenya based on sustainable agricultural practices.
On graduation from SCLSS students are faced with the problem of an inability to attend post-graduate institutions due to a lack of funds. VCILP is working toward the establishment of an agricultural college, which will be able to accommodate the SCLSS students and with fees that will be affordable for the SCLSS students.
VCILP representatives have visited the SCLSS on several occasions and have fostered a partnership between the University of Nairobi, University of Vermont School of Agriculture, Community Development and Applied Economics Program. VCILP has connected SCLSS to the Permaculture Research Institute of Kenya (PRI-Kenya) and students and school leaders have already begun preliminary training in sustainable agricultural practices.
This partnership has led to pilot projects where school leaders have been trained in sustainable agriculture. This is in preparation for the time when SCLSS will move from their present cramped location to a spacious new campus with fertile soil and ample rainfall providing the opportunity to grow their own food and also grow food to provide an income to support the school.


Working Toward Sustainability- June 2017

Inverness County Cares (ICC) continues to work on their commitment to raise the $60,000 portion of the $120,000 needed to support the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School, in Nairobi Kenya for a budget year. Our partner Chalice Canada of Bedford, Nova Scotia contribute the remaining $60,000.

The school is making great strides toward sustainability through their cooperation with the Burlington Vermont based, Vermont Center for International Learning Partnerships, with a focus on environmental agriculture. Their plan is to educate the students and community on the establishment of an agricultural model where they will learn to enrich the soil and plant crops, which will provide maximum yield in the location and conditions they have to work with. This is the beginning of a strategy to work with the school to provide much of their own food. At this point a large part of the school budget goes for food with prices escalating due to a drought in the region.  According to Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), “Widespread crop failure and falling terms of trade for pastoralists have affected farming and agro-pastoral communities in the northwest, northeast, and coastal strip of Kenya. The two main rainy seasons failed in 2016. There are growing reports of conflict as a result of displacement and water shortages.”

To meet out budget commitments, Inverness County Cares is planning a Lobster Dinner fundraiser. On Saturday June 24th, 2017 ICC will host a lobster dinner fundraiser from 6:00-9:00 pm, at the home of Tony and Flo Campbell, 5435 Highway19, Judique. There will be appetizers, one whole 1 ½ pound lobster each, salads, fresh rolls and delicious desserts! Music will be provided. Tickets for this event can be purchased by calling Susan Moran 902-787-2241. 100% of donations will go to St. Charles Lwanga School.


#1: St Charles Lwanga students putting agricultural knowledge into practice.

#2: St Charles Lwanga director meeting with Vermont partners

#3: 2016 lobster dinner

May 2017- Student Power

Student Power

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is blessed to be situated in a community where our young people are committed to helping their brothers and sisters who are in great need. These up and coming global thinkers are a testament to the example provided by their parents and their teachers. Last week Betty Jane Cameron and Fr. Duncan Mac Isaac met with Dalbrae Students who are members of the Students Helping Our World (SHOW) Committee, to relate their experiences while visiting the St Charles Lwanga School. They were very encouraged by the interest of so many students who attended the meeting. These young people think globally and act locally.

Since the inception of Inverness County Cares in 2012, student groups have provided support for the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Ruai, Nairobi, Kenya. Through the guidance of their teacher Melissa Cummings the SHOW students have raised funds through an annual concert where talented students provide most of the entertainment. Their efforts have provided this Kenyan school with money for exam fees, two fuel-efficient stoves, a photocopier and printer, food, water, Internet access, sewing machine and hygiene items. The SHOW students and Melissa, as well as the student members of the We Day organization and St. Stephen’s – Jubilee United Church youth group have provided valuable volunteer assistance for our annual pizza sale in August. ICC representatives visit Dalbrae and keep the students updated as to the events and conditions at the St Charles Lwanga School. In addition the WeDay participants also hosted a successful concert to pay for food for 2 months.

Emma Munro, a third year Dalbrae member of SHOW, stated why she got involved, ” I have always had an interest in helping those in need.  At my previous school, Whycocamagh Education Centre, my grade 8 class got to attend WE day in Halifax. Ever since then the SHOW Committee has allowed me to help others both locally and overseas.  The committee raises money for the St Charles Lwanga School.  In the past we have provided a stove and helped build a well.  I would recommend this committee because it is very rewarding.”

Amy MacDonald, a grade 11 student said she became active because, “I wanted to get more involved with extra curricular activities and I thought it was pretty cool that my participation could help those in a completely different country.  It is such an easy way to help out those locally and globally, who can’t get the help they need on their own.  It is also very inclusive with people from all grades joining to help out others.  I think everyone enjoys being involved.”

The SHOW Committee students will be holding a 7 pm concert, May 30th, at Strathspey Place. There will be performances by the many gifted young people in our area. These students invite you to come out to support a worthy cause and to spend an enjoyable evening in their company.

April 2017- Betty Jane’s Kenyan Experience

The St Charles Lwanga Secondary (Lwanga) School situated in Ruai, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya has a strong connection with Inverness County Cares. This bond and concern for the 280 children at the school has drawn Inverness County visitors to this little school with big dreams.

An adventurous spirit and desire to help others brought Betty Jane Cameron of Mabou, back to the Lwanga School for her second visit. In 2016 she spent a month with the children. This February and March she returned for six weeks, one of those weeks with Fr. Duncan Mac Isaac with whom all were impressed by his wisdom and caring. She taught music, health education and provided love and understanding for children desperately in need of a loving grandmother figure.

Betty Jane had the real Kenyan experience. She lived at the school, slept in a small dorm and ate what the students ate. She experienced firsthand the effects of the devastating famine in Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia. Food prices are escalating and the usual multitude of Kenyan food vendors were absent. The students survive on a very basic diet of beans, rice and cabbage and vegetables. Even tea, that necessary Cape Breton staple, was unavailable.

Betty Jane worked at the school as a member of the staff. She rejoiced in the successes of students and shared tears for their disappointments. She experienced the lack of teaching aids, scarcity of equipment, stifling heat in over crowded classrooms and difficulty in keeping good teachers when the budget doesn’t have the means to pay a competitive salary.

She travelled toward the western part of Kenya to Homabay where school director Br Kennedy Oronjo’s mother lives in their family home. She was proud to witness our Lwanga students act as student leaders and mentors for students of schools in other areas. They demonstrated strong leadership skills and were an inspiration to their peers.

Like our teens, these students have dreams and goals for their future studies and careers. They are very much aware that all this stops at graduation from Form 4 (Grade 12), unless sponsors and/or scholarships can be made available. Last year all of them graduated, and three earned university entrance scholarships. The rest of these young people are back in their communities or on the streets again, and most have not found employment. Inverness County Cares members are individually sponsoring several students, but some of us hope to start a scholarship fund to provide an ongoing source of sustainable money to help graduating students further their studies each year. There are so many needs: a new school with space for sports and recreation, a vocational school, and land for an agricultural program to help them become more sustainable and better fed. Currently, over 300 staff and students live, sleep and study on about 1/4 acre! Nevertheless, they are happy and grateful for everything. They know they are truly blessed to be part of the St Charles Lwanga family.

Betty Jane notes that her experiences with our brothers and sisters in Kenya have emphasized how fortunate we are in Canada, where we have so many home comforts and all the food we need and more.

Passing of Stanley Wanjala

St. Charles Lwanga Children’s Centre and Secondary School and community at large, lost a very hardworking form one student, 14 year old, Stanley Wanjala. He passed over, on the 17th of March 2017 at 7:00 PM at Kakamega referral hospital in Kakamega town, Kenya. Three siblings, his mother and numerous relatives survive him. His family lived in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. His death came unexpectedly. Stanley’s funeral service will take place Saturday March 25th, in Magoo, Kenya and he will be laid to rest in a family plot near his grandparent’s home. We all extend our sincerest sympathies to Stanley’s family and friends.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Chalice Critical needs fund for this funeral, will soon find a location on the Chalice websites address this need.

Or you may use the PayPal button on this  website
All donations are tax deductible in Canada and the USA.
The Chalice giving code is

We all extend our sincerest sympathies to Stanley’s family and friends.

March 2017- Fr Duncan MacIsaac in Kenya

At about 7am in the morning on Thursday February 16th, 2017 in Ruai, Kenya 280 plus students were on parade to pray, sing and give words of welcome to Fr. Duncan MacIsaac (Stella Maris and St Margaret’s parish priest) representing Inverness County Cares (ICC) from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He came to St Charles Lwanga (SCL) Secondary School because he cares and wanted to meet the students and staff at SCL school.
Shortly after arrival Fr. Duncan sat down with about 18 students from Form 4 (grade12) and staff in their newly constructed Chapel. He listened to each student tell of their dreams for their future and how they will build up and enrich society. They spoke of what they learned at SCL school beyond the academics, of how they learned to share and look out for each other. They spoke of how they grew as persons by taking on leadership roles and carrying out their responsibilities in a faithful manner. It was encouraging and uplifting to hear these young men and women speaking from their heart and in such an eloquent way.
ICC represented by Betty Jane Cameron of Mabou and Fr. Duncan met With Br Kennedy and staff along with representatives of Chalice of Bedford, NS, that included Mary Anne MacKinnon, the International Director of Chalice whose ancestral roots are from Inverness County along with Ann Josiah a Native Kenyan who is a Regional Director for Chalice in Kenya. A wide ranging discussion ensued that examined both challenges and opportunities of how SCL secondary school can continue to move forward in the future in the best interests of the students and their education. The obvious improvements in classes, structures, formation, and financial accountability were noted and affirmed.
SCL school’s vision is clearly stated for all to see upon entering the school grounds. It goes like this: ” A society in which children irrespective of their background are equipped with knowledge and skills to play their role in life as citizens of the world”. These values are reinforced on a daily basis in the hearts and minds of the children
The students themselves are engaging and fiercely determined to do their best in this school setting, despite its limitations of space and available material resources. Those who succeed will be exemplary citizens and leaders in their communities, in their country and in the world as a whole. ICC and Chalice through shared funding of $60,000 each, over a 3 year period have enhanced and made real the possibility of the dreams and their fulfillment for these children. It is no small achievement.


Image #1 and 2 Administration of St Charles Lwanga School (SCL), Chalice staff and Inverness County Cares meet to discuss the school.

Image #3 Fr Duncan MacIsaac greets St Charles Lwanga  students at the door of their classrooms

Image #4 Betty Jane Cameron, Fr Duncan MacIsaac, ___, Br Kennedy, Mary Anne MacKinnon of Chalice

Image #5 Betty Jane Cameron, ___, ___, Fr Duncan, RoseMary, Br Kennedy, Mary Anne MacKinnon of Chalice, ___.

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