Earlier this month, the Trinity student group Kid Companions had their most recent visit the Bread of Life Orphanage and the St. Benedict Children's Home to hold the tri-annual carnival for the residents of both facilities.
The Bread of Life Orphanage is a home for Vincentian orphans with HIV and AIDS. The St. Benedict Children's Home serves local orphans with a wide array of special needs. Kid Companions strives to bring additional light and consistency into the residents' lives, through both adaptive play at regular carnivals and through material donations, as well as labor at the sites themselves. This particular carnival represented the culmination of several ongoing projects to upgrade the games and prizes for the events, as well as some extra donation efforts. Read on for the full story and for a short gallery of the day's fun.
Each carnival is special, and for first timers, it can be eye opening how it affects them. Two new members of Trinity's Student Government Association (SGA) were at their very first carnival. Clara Belenga and Angeli Elizabeth were each overcome with enthusiasm, feeding off the energy of their young friends, creating, "an incredible feedback loop of fun."
Kid Companions president, Sam Brosman, was ecstatic about the latest trip. “This carnival has lifted everyone’s spirits, students and children alike. Today, the kids were ready to go as soon as we got here. We had some new games and the whole team has been amazing organizing this. There is such joy on the faces of these children and all the students are so excited when the children take part in the games.”
Along with all the excitement of the carnival, the visit brought a major donation to the group homes: over the past several months, Trinity student and group member Farah Chaudhry raised funds independently for the children. Farah explained, “Over the course of these last two terms, I’ve been doing my own fundraiser: I did students’ eyebrows and collected the money from that, making it part of the funds I used to purchase the items.” She added that her family back home, aware of her passion, also helped. “My family also donated some money as their way of giving back to the community for Ramadan. They wanted to donate to the orphanage because they know how much I love coming here.”
Farah ended up providing about $1,000 USD worth of materials, including diapers, detergent, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoos, hair accessories, garbage bags, and other consumables necessary to the homes' operations.
Director of the Catholic-run institution, Sister Zita Knight, expressed her gratitude for the interfaith effort, “I am so grateful. We are always in need of these items. May God bless them all. We see His hand working in this!”
Farah added, “I feel great. They [the children at the homes] give back to me more that I could ever give them whenever I'm here. I feel like I’m getting more out of this than they are, because they don’t know how much being able to help them impacts me. Their spirits are so great, it’s fantastic!”
Each term, Kid Companions grows at Trinity as the word spreads among the small student body of the value students draw from this unique opportunity. The school could not be more proud of its medical students using their limited free time to put into practice the school's mission of helping others and engaging with the local community on such a regular, intimate level.
Scroll through for additional photos from the day, and click here to read more about Kid Companions.