Mzuzu Children 

A  Voluntary, Non Profit Mzuzu Childrens Aid Program Created by People in the Communities of Mzuzu, Malawi and Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

Coordinated by  St Peter's Anglican Church (Cobourg) and St Mark's Anglican Church (Mzuzu)


The Power of One:

Often people believe they are powerless when faced with gigantic tasks like this one but a young girl and a retired man has proved that much can be done when action is taken.

1. Kylie  is an 8 year old girl who decided to take action. Here is her story in her own words.


Hi my name is Kylie  and I am 8 years old and I am in grade 4 .  I was asked to write a little bit about myself and explain how I became involved with the African orphans in Mzuzu.  


I think I’m a pretty normal girl who likes lots of girl things, my friends say I’m a “girly girl” but I’m OK with that!  Some of my favourite things to do are dance, sing, play soccer, write, go to church and go to school.  I love school so much I dread summer and wish we didn’t have to take a break.  I have a mom and dad who I live with along with my little sister Kaylin who is 5.  I feel very blessed that I can live with both my parents who are in good health and love me very much.  I never have to worry about what’s for lunch or supper.  I always know tat we have lots to choose from.  The only I worry about is if its going to be something that I like, “please no fish or peas or anything grouse like that.” 


I attend St. Peter’s church right here in Cobourg and I love going their and learning about God and all that he has done for us. My sister and I use to take our pennies into church and drop them in the basket we had to help feed these orphans in Africa.  I guess I never really thought about what that must be like to not have enough food.  We did that for a while and then one day our minister Peter bought in a huge duffel bag full of things for us to see.  The things in the bag were paper, pens, balls, toothbrushes and all these things that her in Canada we have so much of.  I was only 5 years old and I will never forget that day for as long as I love.  Peter told us why he had these things in his bag.  He was leaving on a trip to Africa to visit with the orphans we had been feeding for a while now.  The only thing I heard was that he was leaving on Tuesday morning and that these children were so poor that they were not able to go to school.  It just was not right, it was not fair.  So I went home that day and announced to my family that I also would be leaving on Tuesday with Peter and they had nothing to worry about as I was sure Peter wouldn’t mind me going as I was going to be a big help.  I was going to teach these children how to read and write.  They had nothing to worry about, I would be back in less than 3 weeks.  Well Tuesday came and I was packed and ready to go.  I didn’t think I would need many clothes as I knew it was very hot there so I only packed books.  Every book from my book case fit perfectly into my families 3 luggage bags.  When my mom saw what I was doing she called my dad.  They came into my room and told me all the reasons that I was not able to go, but I insisted.  Since I was only 5 and they are my parents they won but they promised me that if this was truly something that I felt strongly about that once I was old enough they would help me go.  By then I will be older and I will be able to read and write by myself.  That might be more helpful  So that was how it was left. 


Since that day I have never forgot about those orphans or what life must be like for them and their families.  The day of my 6th birthday party I asked my mom if I could send all my gifts to the orphans, she explained how hard that is because it is so expensive to mail large things and the government doesn’t always give these things to the children in need.  So my birthday went on as normal, but I announced that this would be the last birthday I would receive gifts from my friends, that next year I would ask for money to send the orphans to school.  And that’s what I did and I raised over $400.00 plus I had a yard sale and lemonade stand in the summer raising another $300.00.  The feeling I got while raising this money was better then any gift I have ever been given.  I was hooked!  Everywhere I turn, I realize how lucky we are to live in Canada.  I wanted to do more to help so I talked to my mom and together we came up with a fun fundraiser that includes all the things I love, dancing, singing and drumming all in honour of the African culture.  I Such a large fundraiser on my own, but with the help of my mom, dad, grandmother and dance team we have had 2 very successful events raising over $3700.00.  This has been so much fun and so successful we will continue to do this every year.  For my 8th birthday I continued to raise money and with my friends help raised over $600.00  It is my hope to continue to raise money for these orphans for a long, long time.  I plan on going to Africa after I become a teacher and plan to teach there.  So I want to make sure that my classroom is full of students. 


It is my hope that I can raise more awareness about these children and encourage more and more people to help as I am still staring to understand that one person on their own can not do it all, but several dedicated people can make a big difference.  I will continue to spread the word through public speeches and this fall I have been asked by a local school to go into the classroom and speak to the children about empathy.  This classroom has committed to raising enough money throughout the school year to send one child to school.   If every classroom in Northumberland did something this wonderful think how many children we could send! 


To end this letter it is my hope that those who read it will be inspired to help how ever they can.  If one 8 year old can raise over $5000.00 in two, just think what we can do together! 





 2. Grahame Woods

Grahame Woods

When Margot Holmes asked me to write a short essay for The Power Of One, a question she posed was; Who am I and what prompted me to want to raise money for Aids orphans in Mzuzu? The immediate, easy answer to who I am is that I’m a retired mental-health counsellor and former television playwright who lives in Cobourg with his wife, Glorya, writes a bi-weekly column for Northumberland Today, belongs to the Cobourg Poetry Workshop, volunteers at the hospital with Glorya and attends Saint Peter’s, but not on a regular basis.  

Giving the question deeper thought, I came to realize I’m someone who came to Canada and, over the years, discovered himself; only I wasn’t conscious of it until I retired and had time to think about it. What truly focused me was a heart attack and subsequent bypass surgery eight years ago. In another life I was also a cinematographer for the CBC, shooting documentaries that took me around the world, with a great deal of time spent in various African countries. I mention this because, a few years ago, I heard Colin Turnpenny give an illustrated presentation about one of his trips to Mzuzu, telling of Aids orphans, their meager lives of sparse opportunity, of sickness and, in many cases, premature death, his images recalling my own experiences. His words stayed with me, parked in a compartment of my mind. 

Something I learned over the years is that many things are possible; ideas can become reality. That nothing will happen if those ideas aren’t acted upon. During the period when "Idol" shows were all the rage on television and in community halls, I mused on the fact that Northumberland County has an enormous musical tradition and a great depth of talent, especially in the classical form. Realizing all the Idol shows were oriented toward modern popular music, I thought; Why not have a classical version in Cobourg, tapping into that depth of talent. But that was all it was. An idea. Until I heard Colin’s presentation and the wheels began to turn. It’s about things coming together. 

All it took was a letter to Canon Peter Walker suggesting a Classical Star competition as a Mzuzu fund-raiser. Peter put me in touch with Heather Godfrey. We hunkered down to try and make it work. Seven months later on a cool November evening, the finalists played to a packed church and $2000 was realized. Okay, we tried a second one that didn’t attract enough entries and we had to cancel. That’s the way it is sometimes with ideas. 

Cobourg is a great town for cycling. When Glorya and I moved here from Morganston ten years ago, cycling became part of our summer routine. After 2002 it became an integral part of my cardio-rehab, averaging 2300k each summer. It was during one of my rides in early spring in 2008 that it occurred to me that I should put my cycling to even better use. I had an idea. Why not have people sponsor me to raise money for Northumberland Hills Hospital? For me it was a way of saying thank you to the hospital where, at its original home on Chapel Street, my life was saved following the heart attack. I called it my Thanks For Life Ride. It raised a lot of money. Fast forward to this year (2010). I had an idea. Why not do it again, this time to help the Mzuzu feeding and clothing program? 

Which is how my 1000 Miles For Mzuzu came to pass. There was one small but important change around the 500 mile mark. I learned from Colin that students going into high school in Mzuzu have to pay tuition fees. No money? Then no school. It was information that excited me, gave me a focus. I pledged to raise $2000 to send five students to school for one year. It was something tangible, providing an additional incentive. Five young people will have an opportunity to reach for a future – as I did when I stepped onto Canadian soil for the very first time on that journey of discovery. It’s a great feeling.  



 Cheque for Mzuzu Children


Grahame Woods handing over cheque to Heather Godfrey representing MAOCP for $3,679.40 which he raised for Mzuzu Children through his "1,000 mile for Mzuzu Project"


Heather Godfrey and Grahame Woods