Author Archives: Maeve Plunkett

High School Club Sponsors Student

Students from Glenbrook South High School’s club STAND for Peace worked together a few weekends ago at Glenview’s Summer Festival. The club fundraised this spring to sponsor a Matanya’s Hope child and were out again working to keep their child in school.

They are currently sponsoring Purity Nkabria, a girl entering high school thanks to their hard work. Purity is an extremely bright student who wouldn’t have been able to attend school beyond eighth grade without a sponsor.

Purity Nkabria

Purity Nkabria

Stand for Peace is a global outreach club that began as Students Taking Action in Northern Darfur thus the STAND name. Over the years, as the genocide ended in Darfur they have moved on to focus on five areas of the world in need of humanitarian aid. The club focuses on human rights crises and takes a non-political stand to help make a difference to better lives. This year they raised money for Syrian refugees, which was donated to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in the fall. Their spring project was Matanya’s Hope. The club has committed to get Purity through her education as she already lost a sponsor before the club became involved. They also sent over a backpack full of donated school supplies for Purity at the end of the school year.

The bottom row of students is the current executive board. The top row is made up of seniors and a faculty advisor

The bottom row of students is the current executive board. The top row is made up of seniors and a faculty advisor

The Student executive board of STAND is currently made up of Ruhi Bhaidani, Kate Hegay, Grace Kilpatrick and Maeve Plunkett. The faculty sponsors include Matthew Whipple who won the Power of One award from the Illinois Holocaust Museum earlier this spring for his work with the club and activism. The club is run by students who choose what projects to work on while the faculty help to ensure productivity with the students.

Matanya’s Hope is extremely thankful for the hard work the students of the club have put in to make enough money to sponsor Purity. The student board was at the festival all day on Saturday and members of the club worked throughout the day in shifts. One member of the club will be traveling to Kenya this year with Matanya’s Hope. Stay tuned and hopefully hear a blog from her about her experience in Kenya.

The Rough Road to Kenya

Its been a rough road to get Matanya’s Hope to Kenya this year. Founder Michelle Stark drove from Matanya’s Hope center to Dulles international airport in Washington DC. The trip began loading the last few bags into the car and moved on out of Illinois and through Indiana. While on the Ohio turnpike the trio on their way ran out of gas. Luckily they could pull over to the side but the car only went so far and trucks were whizzing by threatening to throw the car off of the bridge. Despite the unnerving experience, the Ohio police arrived within five minutes of the pull off and called a gas truck. Within one hour the trio was back on their way to DC.


The gas truck on the Turnpike

The next day proved to carry its own trial. While picking up a couple items to take to Kenya at a mall Michelle left a bag in a shop containing her cell phone. This phone contains all of Michelle’s contacts in Kenya. She was a little more than shaken but it was returned and again they went back to the road again.

Once in DC, the group went to rent a U-Haul truck that they’d be allowed to take on airport premises. Tina Plunkett, one of the volunteers who drove out to DC, drove the U-Haul. Tarik, a sponsor of a student and truck driver, drove the truck loaded with all of the bags from Illinois. Tarik and the other volunteers helped to take the bags off of the truck and into the U-Haul. It was a hot day and the refrigerated truck was a blessing to cool down the group.


The set up for the transfer of bags

The set up for the transfer of bags


Teamwork! (the bags each weighed 50 pounds)

Finally the bags were loaded and the truck was headed to Dulles. Two wonderful representatives of Brussels airlines had porters and carts ready and waiting to take the bags into the airport. Each was offloaded and counted to assure that everything was there. They are now in Kenya, East Africa!

These are the bags from last year. Give you an idea of how big and many there are.

These are the bags from last year. Gives you an idea of how big and many there are.

Despite the road bumps, it has been a wonderful journey. Matanya’s Hope and its children have much to be thankful for. Thank you to Tarik for the truck and help with the bags. Thank you to Brussels airlines for the free passage of our seventy bags full of donations. Thank you to the sponsors and people who made it possible to fill our bags. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in our journey to help Africa!

Stay tuned to our blog to find out what all of the donations and volunteering is for. The next three months are about everything that has been done for Matanya’s Hope in the past nine months coming into place and working to save children’s lives.

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The women of Saint Catherine Laboure worked together to make over one hundred and eighty pads for the girls of Matanya’s Hope. In Kenya, when a girl is on her period and cannot afford disposal sanitary napkins she must stay home from school. This means missing many weeks out of the year for something she cannot help. The pads made are reusable and can be cleaned to be used again and allow the girls to attend school every day. Think it’s a little gross? Imagine having nothing and how much better this will make their lives. They are made from flannel and a waterproof fabric to keep from leaking. All materials were purchased with money raised by the women’s guild of Saint Catherine’s. The pads will be making their way to Kenya this summer in only a few days. Help Matanya’s Hope get to Kenya by donating. Every donation counts!

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At last we have set a date for our first ever Matanya’s Hope golf outing! We are pleased to tell all friends of Matanya’s Hope that on Monday, September 22, 2014 at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont, Illinois we will be golfing with a shotgun start at 8 am. More information is available at

All are welcome to register at this link and join us for a lovely day. Hole sponsorships are being taken. All proceeds from the event will benefit the life saving work that we do here at Matanya’s Hope. This will be far more than just another golf outing. Hope to see you there!

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