Langley family readying for move to Africa

A Langley family is hoping lots of people join them for a Sunday stroll on Aug. 10.

They’ve enlisted help from their church, St. Joseph’s Catholic, and is hoping the public will help with this fundraiser.

They have a goal of raising $25,000, funds that will be used by a charity in Kenya, where the family is moving to for two years.

The Dunns, Sarah, Michael, and their teens Rachel and Victoria, are about to go from the comforts of a home in Murrayville and the conveniences of Canada to charity work in Kenya. (Oldest son Austin is working construction in Fort MacMurray so he will head over for visits.)

“We call it our Great Canadian Family Gap Year,” said Sarah.

Some keepsakes have been packed away in storage and the family sets off in early August.

Right now there’s excitement, anxiety and fatigue, but the four are anxious to return to Africa and help at the Crisis Centre For Carers (CCC) in Mombasa.

“We’re going to see firsthand where the money goes and the impact,” Sarah said.

She and Michael decided this was an opportune time. They didn’t want to be too old to do serious charity work but hesitated while the kids were small.

“It’s been on our radar for a long time,” Sarah explained.

They are following the lead of Pope Francis who has shaken up the papacy through humble but forceful initiatives such as his International Campaign of One Human Family, Food for All campaign.

The Dunns went to Africa on an extended vacation several months ago, giving them a chance to suss out the possibilities.

It was also a chance to meet Mama Rosa, who runs the Crisis Center for Carers, founded in 2001.

“It’s not just about another dollar for Africa,” Michael said. “They want to be self-sufficient.”

The centre is about helping people set up small businesses or farms so they can be self sustaining. There’s also counselling for those dealing with trauma or help for grandparents raising grandchildren because the parents have died of HIV/AIDs. The middle ages of the African population has been hard hit by the disease, leaving many seniors raising children.

CCC is there to help those who care for others, whether it’s job skills or life skills. The Dunns also like the fact that those who receive help from CCC must in turn volunteer with it and help others.

The Dunns will be living in Nairobi and covering their own costs so that all the donations can go to the CCC.

Sarah and Michael will be finding jobs over in Africa so they pose no drain on the charity they want to help.

Michael is on leave from the Surrey RCMP and Sarah worked for TD Canada Trust. They will bring their job skills to this new chapter in their lives.

Sarah said she will have a lot to learn about business in Africa, but hopes to use her business knowledge to help the clients of CCC be more successful.

Victoria, 13, and 16-year-old Rachel have been registered in an international school in Nairobi where the family will live.

While sad to leave friends here where they attended Langley Fundamental, they are looking forward to going.

“I’m totally up for the adventure,” said Rachel. “Something good will always come out of it. It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to be emotionally draining but you get so much more in return.”

Victoria admits to mixed emotions but is looking forward to helping others.

Taking on new challenges seems to be part of their DNA. Sarah was born in Africa and spent her formative years in England before spending most of her life in Canada. Sarah’s mother, a pilot and flight instructor, has lived in Africa for more than four decades, and resided various countries during her life.

How to help

• Tegemeza Kenya: a charity set up by the Dunn family. Online donations are possible through the site. More information is at tegemeza.com. (Tegemeza translates as ‘to support’.)

• St. Joseph’s Walk a Thon: Sunday, Aug. 10, take part in a five-kilometre walk. It’s being put on by the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Development and Peace Committee and starts at 11 a.m. at the church, 20676 Fraser Hwy.

• Gofundme: the crowdsourcing website (www.gofundme.com/7v1dns).

The Dunns have a goal of $25,000.

Proceeds from these initiatives go to Mombasa Crisis Centre For Carers (CCC) to provide basic necessities of food, shelter and education for families, specifically the caregivers who need support caring for orphaned children.

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