Greetings from MCC Canada executive director
Where we work
You can’t help but smile when you see Josephine Mwikali Mutinda smile. And for her to be smiling after harvest season in rural Kenya is not something to take for granted.
Climate change is negatively impacting farmers like Josephine, drastically affecting the rainy seasons that are vital to growing healthy crops.
Add to that a global pandemic that disrupted trade and economic stability in the area and many farmers have nothing to smile about.
But Josephine had some help this year—from you. Through MCC’s account at Canadian Foodgrains Bank, your donations equipped an MCC partner in Kenya to help Josephine diversify her farm and adapt to some of the environmental challenges she is facing.
She planted a wider variety of crops to increase her chances of good yields. This year, in addition to her successful maize harvest, she also brought in a bountiful mango crop. She also started raising chickens and rabbits, so she’s less reliant on her crops and can supplement her income in the event of a poor harvest.
On average, it costs $2.92 to provide farmers like Josephine with the seeds they need to plant crops for the year. Because of you, she, and hundreds of farmers like her, got the support they needed to provide for themselves this year while setting up
for a more successful crop next year.
“Diversifying farms with livestock production lessens farmers’ dependence on a single crop or harvest and gives them access to different markets.”- Michael Adeola, MCC food security and livelihoods coordinator
Food program highlights
“We are now able to cook and make meals for our children.”- Alice Joubanian, Lebanon
The explosion came with almost no warning. The devastating blast wave in Beirut, Lebanon, ripped a huge portion of the city to shreds. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands more were injured. Nearly 300,000 people had nowhere to go—their homes reduced to rubble and shattered glass.
The city’s food supply was greatly diminished, and hospitals were overflowing with wounded, as a city already brought to the brink by the global pandemic desperately called for help.
A call you answered. You, and thousands of compassionate Canadians, came together to reach across the world and care for a hurt and grieving city. You contributed to MCC’s $2.3 million emergency response in Beirut.
Your incredible generosity helped provide monthly food support to 1,300 families, give hygiene vouchers to 750 families, fix 75 homes and businesses and provide trauma care to 270 children and adults.
“Though the emergency stage has passed, many of those needs remain the same and are now worsened by the severe economic crisis Lebanon is witnessing,” says Tala Itani, peacebuilding advisor for MCC Lebanon. “We thank everyone who contributed to the emergency response.”
Relief program highlights
Sarothi Pahan wanted to be a teacher. But after finishing her primary school education, that dream seemed impossible. Sarothi has polio. Even though Bangladesh was declared polio-free in 2014, many remote areas, like Sarothi’s home of Vutahara, struggled to access vaccines.
That infection caused a serious physical disability in Sarothi’s legs, greatly limiting how far she’s able to walk. And because there are no high schools near Vutahara, her dream of teaching others was being pulled out of her reach.
Now, thanks to your generosity, Sarothi’s dream is on track to become a reality. An MCC partner in the area connected her to a group home for children with disabilities in a nearby city. The cost to support one student here for a year is $112—beyond the financial capacity of her family. But because of you, Sarothi’s room and board, food
and education costs are fully covered, allowing her to pursue her education at a nearby high school.
You’ve given Sarothi the ability to make her own choices about her future. She’s now in Grade 10 and is one the top students in her class. Her dream of sharing a love of education with others is becoming more her reality every day because of you.
“MCC’s partners provide quality access to education for children who wouldn’t have that opportunity due to violence, poverty, gender, ethnicity or disability.”- Lynn Longnecker, MCC education coordinator
Education program highlights
When Ayalew Misgan was very young, there was no clean water at home. He lives in western Amhara, Ethiopia, where for much of his life, the water nearby wasn’t safe to drink. The only water sources were shallow open-pit wells or small ponds that the local wildlife also drank from.
As a result, women had to walk hours in either direction to collect water that was only sometimes safer to drink. These long walks could be dangerous and exhausting. Often, young girls missed time at school to assist their mothers in water-gathering.
But your caring support has drawn clean, safe water up from the ground for Ayalew and his whole village. Your support allowed an MCC partner to dig wells deep enough to reach safe, clean water. For the cost of $5,200, one of these pumps provides an easy-to-access supply of drinking water free from disease or bacteria.
“Our life in the past had made us vulnerable to many problems. Now, we are able to fetch and use safe water here from our village, near our homes. From this time onwards, we have no worry of [getting sick],” says WorkuAbebe Chinais, who lives in the same community as Ayalew.
Water program highlights
For most of her life, the only option Floride Murhimanya M’nkwale had to relieve herself was to use a hole in the ground. Her village, known as Mosho II, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) didn’t have running water or bathroom facilities.
As she got older, it was a greater challenge for her to use these safely—two planks of wood don’t make a very stable platform. Digging a hole more than a few metres deep is challenging, but a shallow pit will attract disease-spreading insects and fill up in a matter of months. It’s an unhealthy and dangerous cycle.
But your compassion broke that cycle. Thanks to you, an MCC partner in DR Congo
has installed brand new latrines in Mosho II, including one at Floride’s home. It costs $252 to build a latrine like this. Now there’s no smell, no risk of waste infecting water supplies and no danger of her falling and hurting herself. Floride also received a rain barrel in her home to collect rainwater that she can use for cooking and washing dishes or hands.
“We are old now,” says Floride, 66. “We don’t have strength to dig the toilet over and over again. But the water is helping us, especially when it rains. We are sure we’ll have water all the time.”
“This type of basic infrastructure for safe handwashing and waste disposal is essential for preventing the spread of new infectious diseases.”- Paul Shetler Fast, MCC global health coordinator
Health program highlights
Peace and Justice
“The advocacy offices have been meeting with partners on the ground—they’re hearing from people directly engaged in this work. These monthly exchanges give partners hope.”- Joan Alty, MCC representative for Jordan, Palestine and Israel
Everyone needs a home. Somewhere to feel safe and secure where their basic needs are met. Somewhere to come and go freely where they can imagine a future. But that is not the reality for Palestinians—or even for some Israelis.
MCC Canada’s A Cry for Home campaign has been educating and advocating for action to end the illegal occupation of Palestine and create safe, just and peaceful communities for all Palestinians and Israelis.
Your faithful support has empowered MCC to raise the voices of our partners in Palestine and Israel to the highest levels of government in Canada.
Our advocates have been meeting with members of Parliament and citizens across Canada, carrying the stories of the people on the ground. You’ve enabled us to meet with government officials, rally Anabaptist and other faith groups together and equip all Canadians with tools to let their voices be heard to say we need a just peace in Palestine and Israel.
Peace and justice program highlights
Shadi Alkhannous knows what it’s like to land at an airport in Canada without knowing a single person. That’s why he joins refugee sponsor groups as often as he can to greet newcomers who are walking out of the airport into Canada. He knows firsthand the comfort of hearing a familiar language.
Shadi arrived in Canada from Syria in October 2016. Along with his wife Sultana and his children Ghazal and Hussein, they escaped a dangerous conflict zone and made a new home in St. Catharines, Ont.
Shadi quickly found a job at a grocery store called Alnoor Halal Food Market. Last year, he opened a take-out and delivery counter in the store, offering meals like beef kabab and chicken shawarma. Even during the pandemic, when the food counter can be open safely, lines at the take-out window are a common sight.
And he wouldn’t be here without you. It’s your support that has enabled MCC Canada to resettle more than 13,000 refugees in Canada over the last 42 years.
Now that he’s in Canada, Shadi and his wife have helped other newcomers find sponsors for family members still living as refugees. Shadi says it very simply—he likes to help people however he can. “When people call me, I’m happy to do what I can for them,” he says. “I do the same as people did for me when I came new.”
Migration program highlights*
*Please note that migration numbers were reduced due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. These numbers only include arrivals into Canada.
Global Service Learning
Dr. Ela Castro always knew she wanted to spend her life serving those in need. By all outward appearances, this is what she was doing. She’d studied for years to earn her medical degree. She was working at a health-care clinic. She was helping people—but something was missing.
It wasn’t until she took a step of faith that she truly felt like she’d found her purpose. Through her church, Ela decided to try a one year term of service with Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN) and was placed at a ministry serving migrants in Guatemala.
“YAMEN is a great place for people to confirm their gift and their call, and for me it was proof that I can do something different than other doctors are called to do,” she says. She also says her time with YAMEN played a pivotal role in her faith formation
and in planning what is next for her life.
“It was my Gethsemane,” says Ela. “It was an opportunity for me to experience my faith by myself without the support of my mom and dad and closer family.”
Abdel* and his family received an MCC relief kit and comforters that were packed and sewn by MCC volunteers. These supplies provided his family with important basic necessities and the knowledge that people across the world were thinking of them.
Abdel and his family have had a very challenging few years. They’ve been forced to abandon two homes because of the constant threat of violence in Syria. They’re living in Homs, Syria, now—Abdel, his parents and his five siblings—in a house that desperately needs repairs to withstand the rainy winter months.
But your caring support offered warmth to Abdel on the coldest of nights.
He and his family received an MCC relief kit and comforters that were packed and sewn by MCC volunteers. These supplies provided his family with important basic necessities and the knowledge that people across the world were thinking of them.
“Here the light of Christ shines through MCC. [The kits] we received today will paint a smile on my wife and children’s faces.”- Laith Bajaji, an Iraqi refugee in Jordan
*Name changed for security reasons.
Material resources shipped last year
MCC Thrift shops
This year saw a major disruption to MCC Thrift shops across the country. But the staff and volunteers who operate our shops worked tirelessly to ensure shoppers got as close to a regular experience as they could.
Ruth Jantz, manager of the Sargent MCC Thrift shop in Winnipeg, MB, says the flexibility of volunteers made a challenging situation much more manageable. “They’ve been great at adapting to the changes in their schedules, filling the gaps and figuring out a new routine,” says Ruth. “They’re eager to continue as much as they can.”
And for volunteers like Pearl Plohman, her time at a thrift shop was also a way for her to connect. “MCC has been a lifeline for me [during the pandemic],” she says. “God made us to be sociable creatures, so you do need contact with people.”