Pitching in: Climbing to provide a small Indian village with medical equipment

Organizers : John and Cathy Wenuk

Field : Collect $ 362,000 and climb

The cause: Canadians share locally and globally

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When John and Cathy Wenuk visited a village in South India for their honeymoon in 2000, they formed a long-standing attachment to the community.

The couple volunteered for a local charity during their honeymoon and returned the following year for a wedding. “We just connected and saw that [the charity] had a great vision to help people in this remote area, ”recalls Ms. Wenuk, 63, of the family home in Baskin’s Beach, Ont., outside of Ottawa.

The Wenuks return to the village, Thirumalaikodi, almost every year and in 2013 they created a Canadian charity called Canadians Sharing Locally and Globally to raise money for the purchase of health care equipment and school supplies. They work with charities and local suppliers to fund purchases of everything from patient transport vehicles to ventilators, cots, lab equipment, EKG, and PPE. They also fund several scholarships and plan to start a reforestation project.

Years of effort have paid off and today Thirumalaikodi has a 300-bed hospital, three schools and a college of nurses. “We have seen it grow at a phenomenal rate and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” said Ms. Wenuk.

In 2016, the couple retired from their home improvement business and they now devote most of their time to charity. Each year they raise between $ 60,000 and $ 80,000, but last May they raised $ 362,000 in donations during the Ottawa Race Weekend, a series of racing and fundraising events. funds that were to be held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

“This year has been spectacular. It was way beyond our expectations or our hopes, ”said Ms. Wenuk. The money has already been used to buy medical equipment and help set up a COVID-19 testing center and patient ward at the hospital.

Mr Wenuk, 67, said much of the success of local charities has come from meeting individual needs. “These charities are really reaching out to the local level to improve lives and provide better opportunities,” he said. “It has been really, really rewarding for me to see how [Canadian Sharing] helped that.

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Christina A. Kroll

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