St. Denis Hearts Open to the World
Our Partners in Kenya - Their Needs and Our Goals
Hearts Open to the World (HOW) is an initiative of St. Denis Catholic Church in Hanover, NH to befriend and serve the people of western Kenya. Guided by our principles of caring for all of God’s people, solidarity with the poor and the vulnerable, and the call to family, community, and participation, Hearts Open to the World strives to serve those in need by:
- building strong personal relationships with our Kenyan partners (in education, health care, and community development) to better understand their needs.
- assisting effectively - that is, assisting locally in ways that both remedy need and ultimately promote self-direction, self-respect, and self-sufficiency.
- committing the professional and personal talents of our members in service trips to western Kenya and in follow-up support across the miles.
While our long-term goal is local self-reliance, we recognize that this is an ongoing process rather than a direct outcome of every initiative we undertake. HOW was inspired by the work of 1958 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Fr. Dominic Pire, O.P., who reminded us that "the noblest virtues that initiate pacific action [are] Love, Initiative, Tenacity, Realism, and Patience."1 HOW members commit themselves to a process born of those virtues.
HOW Mission Statement, adopted 20 October 2015
1Dominique Pire, "Brother Love: Foundation of Peace," Nobel Lecture, 11 December 1958
Our Lady of Grace School (Kisumu District) is a pre-K-8 school founded by the Dominicans in 2008. The School serves 220 orphaned, abandoned, and vulnerable children, who probably would not be in school, were it not for OLG. The school provides a quality education, counseling, and two meals a day for its needy students, as well as instruction in “the Word of God and the love of God in their lives,” writes Head of School Maria Oguom Casiraghi. Goal: To assist in the operation and sustenance of OLG ($25,000).
St. Denis Konditi School (Pap-Onditi, Nyando District) is a public elementary school (K-8). The school serves 375 children from the poverty-stricken Pap-Onditi area, a region where hunger, malnutrition, and HIV/AIDS are all too common. Thirty percent of families in this region have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. Many of the students are orphaned but live with their extended families. (The Konditi School added “St. Denis” to its name in gratitude for our parish assistance over the years). Goal: To assist in the lunch program, high school scholarships, and an AIDS orphan feeding program ($15,000).
Christ the King Katito Parish (Kisumu District) is a rural parish of the Kisumu Archdiocese, serving as the home church for eight villages near Katito. Until 2016, Christ the King's church was an open-air gazebo and several makeshift chapels. Led by Fr. Alfred Atemo and a strong parish council, the community has been building a new and permanent church, and HOW has assisted with its construction. Goal: Painting and exterior site work to complete the church ($5,000).
Nyakach County Hospital (Pap-Onditi, Nyando District) is a public hospital serving approximately 68,000 persons scattered among rural communities near Pap-Onditi. The hospital has 38 beds, often occupied by more than one patient. The hospital has only one physician, and is limited to simple procedures. Expanding upon the installation of a drilled borehole for clean running water (completed in 2017 through the generous support of St. Denis HOW donors), the hospital seeks to improve sanitary facilities. Goal: Installation of flush toilets and sinks ($15,000).
Read more about our partners and projects in these bulletin issues:
Here are videos of the water borehole project from Nyakach County Hospital: