BY MITCHELL DANSER
A tremendous thank-you to the Rosedale Valley Strings, the Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra, and ihana Youth Choir for putting on the 2018 “Music with a Mission” fundraiser concert in support of A Better World.
Through donations and a silent auction, the groups were able to raise $9,000 in contribution to the 100 Classrooms Project in Afghanistan; this was their eighth collaboration project with A Better World.
“This project started eight years ago and we are currently building the last two of ten schools, bringing us to 101 classrooms,” said Azalea Lehndorff, a recent med school graduate who launched the project through A Better World in 2010.
“I’m happy to say this project is basically done,” Lehndorff said to a full audience at the First Church of Nazarene. “Today we’re just going to put some icing on the cake.”
All donations from the fundraiser will go directly into building two new science labs in the schools being built.
A total of $1.4 million has been raised over eight years through fundraisers and donations for the 100 Classrooms Project.
“It hasn’t all been from huge donations, but most of it has been from community efforts and people contributing just the little bits they can. That’s what makes the difference in these kids’ lives.”
17,000 students are currently attending the schools constructed by the project, and with the aid of the Kenyan government, teachers and curriculum are provided to give students proper educations.
Joined over the years by the Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra and now by the ihana Youth Choir, the Rosedale Valley Strings has been involved in supporting A Better World since its early stages.
“It’s important to recognize these young people and all of the incredible work they have done since the beginning,” said Lehndorff.
The first project the Rosedale Valley Strings was involved in was before Eric Rajah, the Co-Founder of a Better World, had ever been to Afghanistan.
Rajah had heard of the need in Afghanistan – in particular, a school for the blind there that could use support – and wanted to raise awareness in his community about the need.
Rosedale Valley Strings director Naomi Delafield was willing to help, and the orchestra organized a fundraiser that funded surgeries and a school for those children.
Since then, the groups have greatly impacted the lives of thousands, raising over $120,000 in ten years.
Their support has helped to build a maternity ward, a nursery school, toilets at an orphanage in Kenya, a school for children in the slums in Nairobi, and feeding centres for nurseries and schools in Kenya.
Last year, their fundraising project was to help fund refugees who were patients at Mosaic Clinic in Calgary by providing prescriptions and medications.
“It takes a lot of effort to perform good music, but it also takes a lot of effort to put on a silent auction and prepare everything that goes into [a fundraiser]. The students involved, their parents, and of course Naomi Delafield, Heather Flynn-sley and Lisa Ward have put in so much,” said Lehndorff.
“When strangers help other people and give them that little boost – especially when it’s investing in young people’s lives – they can do amazing things.”