The Small Project

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The Small Project

"I can't do everything, but I can do something." Edward Hale

This is a story that we are sharing through our ALIVE Outdoors network in an attempt to make a difference in one young woman's life. Helping her has the potential to make a vast difference in the lives of many others. We recognize that the majority of you in the ALIVE community are young people who likely do not donate at this point in your lives. Many of you are part of our instructor community who are not at a stage of life where you are making enough money to spare. Having said that, we are simply asking you to take 5 minutes and read Rebecca's story, a young woman that we had the privilege of meeting while we were in Kenya last June with our friend Rex. We understand that there are countless people in the world who need help, and so Rebecca is lucky to have people who believe she is worth rallying around.  We are not going to be hounding you for money. We will not contact you at all beyond sharing this link. We have never asked for any donations or thrown our support behind any single cause. This is not something we are going to start doing, but there is something special about this young woman and we could not ignore the opportunity to help.  We would love for you to donate even the smallest amount-- your babysitting money for a night, your coffee money for one day, your movie money-- anything small will be immensely helpful. Maybe your school or organization has an ability to make a small donation. If you cannot do anything financial, then please hit the share button or send this link to someone that might be able to help even a little.   We end all of our ALIVE Outdoors programs with a gratitude circle in an effort to remind each of us about the power of gratitude, and how fortunate we all are.  We sincerely thank you in advance for anything you may be able to donate for this driven and remarkable young woman.

Rebecca’s Story - In July 2009, Rebecca’s life was forever changed when she met Isabel, a Canadian student on a school trip to Kenya and her life was forever changed.

Isabel thought Rebecca was pretty terrific and very able, and so she arranged for her parents to pay - through The Small Project - for Rebecca, an orphan who lived with her poor and elderly grandparents, to attend a really good Kenyan boarding school. Isabel knew that Rebecca had great potential and that by providing her with a better education, she hoped that Rebecca might break out of the cycle of poverty into which she had been born.

For the first three years, Rebecca thrived at her school, consistently earning terrific grades.  However, Pauline, who is The Small Project’s Kenyan volunteer representative, sensed that something wasn’t right with Rebecca when she met with her during the school break at the end of the first term of grade 12.

A few days later, after Rebecca had returned to school, Pauline still felt very uneasy. She called the school and learned that Rebecca had disappeared two days before. A trusted girl in her final year, Rebecca had been allowed to walk to town for some personal items and had not returned. No one at the school knew where she had gone.

Pauline was now really worried. The police were contacted and calls were made to friends and family without success. But the word of Rebecca’s disappearance spread and the next day a distant uncle called to say that Rebecca had arrived at his place in a terrible state. He agreed to escort the girl home, where upon the story came tumbling out.

Rebecca was pregnant.

She had hidden her condition from family, friends, and teachers for seven months. But inside she was a mess: horribly distressed and terribly alone. In desperation she had sought an abortion. Fortunately, the man she contacted refused to do it, saying her pregnancy was too advanced. So, very upset and deeply ashamed, she fled to her uncle’s home in western Kenya. In fact, her distress was so great that upon her return to her grandparents she attempted suicide.

At this point Pauline got deeply involved and provided the necessary emotional and medical support, and two months later Rebecca gave birth to Anne, a healthy baby girl.

Despite some initial resistance, Rebecca’s school agreed to let her finish the year and write the crucial final exams. Isabel and her family provided the financial support to hire a nanny and buy the supplies necessary to support the child while Rebecca was away at school. With encouragement from Pauline, her grandmother and Isabel, and despite missing one full term of school, Rebecca rose to the occasion and did really well on her final exams.

Rebecca’s Future - As a bright young woman who understands very well what an incredible opportunity was almost lost, she’s determined not to let it slip away again.

Rebecca wants to attend university to get a nursing degree. This is an excellent choice of program as her employment prospects are very good and it will allow her to help others as she was helped.

Once again, Isabel and her family have stepped up to the plate and willingly agreed to pay for Rebecca’s tuition costs, about $3000 a year for the four years.  Rebecca still needs financial help for all the other costs: accommodation in a hostel, food, transportation, school supplies and books, and someone to babysit young Anne while Rebecca is in class. Together, these “upkeep” costs are another $3000 a year, for four years.

The connection between education and the empowerment of women is well known and very strong, and nowhere is this clearer than in Africa. When a small pebble is dropped into a still pool of water, the ripples spread outwards, eventually affecting the entire surface of the pool. Taking even a small step to enhance and encourage the empowerment of women in African society, such as helping Rebecca become a nurse, is just like dropping that pebble into the pool. The impact is felt far beyond the support of one woman’s education and can create widespread and long lasting change.

Rebecca is a remarkable young woman who has, with some support and through her own hard work and determination, overcome some enormous challenges. If she can earn a nursing degree, she and her family will be forever free of the cycle of poverty into which she was born.

We hope you can help Rebecca realize her goals.

Donations in support of Rebecca can be made by cheque payable to The Small Project. Please send to: 200 Lorne Avenue, Newmarket, ON L3Y 4K2. Or can you can use your credit card through The Small Project's PayPal account at

Tax receipts are issued for all donations greater than $10.00.                                                                                       


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