(Windsor, Ontario) – Elyse Maindonald and husband Fred have a particular soft spot for vulnerable children in third world countries. So much so, that after winning the Brentwood Lottery Home in 2011, they sold the home and used the proceeds from the sale of the home to build a centre for orphaned and vulnerable children in Ghana, Africa in 2012. Elyse is a Nurse Practitioner at the St. Clair College Health Centre and Fred is a retired government employee.
The mission of the Star Of God Children's Centre and Outreach is to relieve suffering and bring hope to young children (2-8 years old) in the Upper West Region of Ghana who are impoverished because they have lost one or both of their parents or because their parents are unable to physically provide basic necessities for them. These children need help in order to survive and thrive.
The Maindonalds have now built two centres - one in the town of Wa that has 150 children and the second in a more remote, primitive area of Duori-Kuree (2015) that presently has 88 children. The children are being cared for by people who serve as loving surrogate parents and teachers during the day. In the evening, the children are integrated with extended family and other relatives in their surrounding communities. This model of care fosters the children's sense of safety, belonging, self-worth, and hope so they can achieve their highest potential prior to being integrated into a primary school system.
Each year the Maindonalds return to Ghana to take necessary items such as medicines, vitamins, clothing, shoes, toys, and educational supplies. This year, in November 2016 they will be taking 100 dresses that were made by students in the Fashion Design program. "Students were thrilled to be able to use the skills they are learning to give back," says Elaine Chatwood, Program Coordinator. The dresses will be highlighted at the upcoming Fashion Show staged by the students, on Saturday, April 30th at the SportsPlex at St. Clair College.