News Story

LDS Volunteers to give hope to Children Living with Cancer

Hundreds of Mormons in Nairobi set to offer service at Kenyatta National Hospital

The educational plight of children living with life threatening diseases is rarely highlighted by members of the general society. This is more so when these children are hospitalized and have to miss school, sometimes for years. They often fall behind in their educational progression. There are many of these children in our hospitals. At Kenyatta National Hospital Pediatric Cancer Unit, for example, hundreds of children are undergoing treatment with some of these having missed school for over one year. The hospital does not have any programs to enable children to continue with their schooling while under treatment and thus rely of well-wishers for help. These volunteers visit the hospital and help children to read and write, so they can catch up with their peers in regular schools.

It is because of this that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have embarked on a month long program to also make a difference in the lives of children living with cancer. On 5th July 2014, Nairobi Stake President Jadmaire Ndivo joined other members of the Church from Nairobi to launch a service project at the hospital under the annually held Church program of Mormon Helping Hands.

This year’s Mormon Helping Hands project is designed to have members of the fifteen congregations of the Nairobi Stake to visit the cancer pediatric ward at Kenyatta National Hospital on the Saturdays of 5th July, 12th July, 19th July, 26th July, 2nd August and 9th August from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. At the hospital the members will play with the children and help them to read and perform any other tasks that will be advised. Sister Ann Kundu who is a school teacher has developed a teaching program which the members use. The kids are divided into age groups and taken through simple tasks like solving math and English grammar problems. The Connect the Dots and color shading are among the most popular among younger children.

During the start of project on 5th July 2014, about 30 members of the Church from Upper Hill and Ongata Rongai congregations gathered at the pediatric ward and were able to help approximately fifty children to read, write and have fun by playing games. The other thirteen congregations of the Church will also be going to the hospital every Saturday to continue with the service until 9th August 2014.

A major clean-up and blood donation drive at the hospital is planned for 16th August 2014 which close to 1000 members of the Church projected to participate.

Those who attended this launch were touched by the experiences they had with the children, some of which were in pain initially but whose faces glowed with the interaction. Brother Betterman Simidi wrote on his Facebook account after the visit, “Children are closer to God than any of us.”

This project is part of the Mormon Helping Hands program of the Church where members carry out a community service drive to serve others. During this time Church members partner with local communities, other faiths, corporate organizations and the media to conduct projects ranging from clean-up exercises, planting of trees, donation of blood, working at health centers, digging trenches, unblocking drainage, visiting children’s homes and other less advantaged members of the society, among others. Projects are being planned or ongoing in Kisumu, Mombasa, Naivasha, Chyulu, Eldoret, Kitale, Mtito Andei, Kilili and other places. It is estimated that over 5000 volunteers will have participated in these projects when they culminate on 16th August 2014. 

Additional Resources

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