Homeless Count 2016

Homeless count 2016 is on October 19-20. Volunteer this year, and you will see firsthand that homelessness happens to all kinds of people: families, singles, young people and seniors.

How many of us have been there? Couch surfing at family or friend’s; spending a night at the shelter, or being forced to spend a night in the car. Come help gather information in this year’s homeless count so that those providing help better know where and how to respond.

Volunteers will act as enumerators, recording responses to a short survey designed to gather basic demographic information from people they encounter over the course of their shift. Teams of volunteers fan out across the city to conduct the survey on predetermined routes, including areas close to drop-in centres, libraries, temporary employment agencies, bottle depots, and other places. Your volunteer contributions are part of a much larger community effort during the Homeless Count. Many service providers, outreach teams, public agencies, and community partners are also supporting this valuable work

Only volunteers over the age of 18 will be accepted for enumerating positions. There may be limited positions available for assistance with the orientation training and at base sites for individuals age 16 or 17. To volunteer, visit http://www.homelesscount.ca


Youth Contest Deadline extended!

Our partner, the Intercultural Dialogue Institute here in Edmonton is holding it’s 1st Annual Art, Essay & Short Movie Contest

This contest is for secondary school students affiliated with the school boards. This year’s theme is “Art of Living Together” and submissions will be accepted in three categories: art, essay and short video. Be sure to pass this along to a young person or youth group near you!  Find more information at: http://artessay.ca/edmonton/


They are Witches!

The following story of compassion and hospitality was shared with CRIHI by Christina Mhina, from All Saint’s Anglican Parish in Edmonton. 

My grandfather, the late Canon Samuel Stephen Mwinyipembe was a special influence in my life. He was a loving, caring and compassionate person.

I remember when I was a child, about nine years old, there were rumors that neighborhood witchcraft was a problem in the village that I was born and raised.

It was believed that this was a problem in neighboring villages too. These were village communities where the inhabitants largely rely on each other. Accusations of witchcraft were usually due to personal disputes, jealousy, and conflicts between neighbors or family over land or inheritance. In many cases those who were accused of practicing witchcraft were shunned away from their families, and in some cases they were murdered.

My grandfather, as a faith leader felt that he had a moral obligation to support those in need, therefore he invited the suspected witches to come and stay at our home until the tensions in their families were resolved. Our family structure was a big extended clan, so I and my siblings thought we were related to everyone that lived in our house. Now there were three old women, who lived at our home who were quite isolated and who did not take part in any household chores (as they were not allowed to do chores such cooking, cleaning, fetching water for the fear that they might try to poison the family.) Because they had lots of time sitting around, my siblings and I spent a great deal of time interacting, listening to the stories they shared and playing with these old women.

Then one day, at night while everyone else was sleeping, I was awakened by voices of people talking. As I listened carefully I realized the voices of my grandfather and my grandmother arguing. In their argument I heard my grandmother furiously saying “you have to send them away, they are witches, and they will bewitch our grandchildren”. My grandfather responded calmly and with confidence, “there is no certainty that these women are witches, but we know for sure that these are human beings in need. They need our support. They will stay with us. I assure you, our grandchildren will be safe.”

That night, I could not get back to sleep, I kept thinking of the three isolated old women that played with us, and that all this time they had been “witches!” The following day I interacted with them being cautious, but within a few days’ time, I forgot about my grandparents’ arguments. We continued to live with the accused ‘witches’ who seemed to be friendly and harmless to me and my family members.

Since that time I always remember my grandfather’s concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others which has influenced me in my interactions with others. I try to pass on what I have learned from my grandfather down to my children and those I interact with.