Bob Cindric, helps put the CARE in Care Village

Screenshot of All That Hope Contains – A Documentary Film

By Steve Laatsch 

Care Village is an orphanage in Middleburg, Mpumalanga South Africa, which is home to 108 children. The children will never be adopted. Their prospects of obtaining a quality education, which could improve their lives and provide employment opportunities, are limited.

The Saline Area Schools – Care Village Initiative is working to improve their prospects by establishing a school on site, at the orphanage. Woodland Meadows music teacher, Bob Cindric returned from a life-changing mission trip to South Africa in August. He was profoundly affected

by the educational disparities he had witnessed. He spoke with SAS Superintendent Scot Graden who saw an opportunity for Saline students and schools to engage globally by partnering with Care Village.

Graden immediately lent his support by donating outdated, yet sturdy and still functional classroom furniture to the future school. The environmentally sound idea kept the furniture out of a landfill.

Rotary International realizes it is far easier to contribute to a local landfill, than to furnish a future school in South Africa.

They sponsor the shipping of containers to under resourced nations in order to establish schools.

A Saline Area School wide donation drive began November 28th when Bob Cindric described Care Village orphanage to Woodland Meadows elementary school children.

When asked for their support, the children responded with a resounding cheer. The Saline children also recorded and sent an enthusiastic greeting to the children at Care Village.

Immediately after that, donation drop off locations were set up at local schools. The middle school had a book drive. Word spread, and soon local businesses, libraries, service organizations, church groups and individual sponsors contributed with unimagined generosity. The end result was a completely filled 3,200 cubic foot container.

Books and other supplies were used to pack in all available space inside and between the pieces of furniture so that no volume was wasted.

As it turned out, there was exactly enough space for everything that was donated. There was not an inch of unfilled space. And, not one donation was left behind.

The approximate donation list follows: 8 pianos, 5 keyboards,100 desks,40 tables, 390 chairs, 25 bicycles, 320 boxes of books , 60 iPads, sporting goods, school supplies, art supplies, toiletries, many pairs of shoes and a Ping Pong table.

The number of volunteers devoted to organizing, shopping, donating, staging, packing, loading and moving remains innumerable.

Many, but not all, of the donated goods and services are listed here:

● Junga’s donated packing supplies

● McNaughton & Gunn donated book boxes

● Home Depot donated boxes and packing supplies

● Thrivent Financial donated $500 toward packing supplies and food for the volunteers on loading day.

● The Saline Library and Friends of the Library donated books

● The Milan Library donated books

● The Kiwanis of Detroit donated 2 pallets of new children’s books.

● The local Kiwanis donated 3 new keyboards

● The Salvation Army of Ann Arbor donated 4 pianos

● 6 other Saline residents donated pianos or keyboards

● Many church members and parents bought books, shoes and school supplies to send.

● The First Presbyterian Church Prism Group (middle schoolers) used the $500 they raised selling hot chocolate and cookies at the Christmas parade to buy school supplies to send.

● The Saline Schools donated the furniture of course

● First Presbyterian Church members supplied labor, transportation, and storage of the furniture, pianos etc.

● The Rotary Club of Grand Bend ON supplied expertise and labor to get everything into the container

● First Presbyterian members, Saline Area Schools teachers, administrators and family members supplied the labor to collect donations and pack the container.

The container, which set off December 18th, will travel approximately 14,285 miles, from Saline to Detroit to Norfolk VA, to Antwerp, Belgium, to Durban, South Africa by truck, train and container ship before reaching its destination at Care Village in Middleburg by mid February. Meanwhile, Bob Cindric has presented informational meetings to fellow educators at each Saline School.

A trip to Care Village is scheduled for mid March. Bob Cindric describes the trip’s goals as: “ Assisting Care Village employees with the physical layout of the school, travelling to other area schools to learn about curriculum and operation, developing curriculum, tutoring the children in their studies in the evenings, assessing academic level and emotional readiness for those children who express an interest in coming to study in Saline next year, and nurturing the children’s recreational activities in the afternoons.”

Bob Cindric continues to plan for the improvement of educational excellence and accessibility in South Africa. He says, ”I would very much like to see the Saline community commit to sending one or more containers per year to South Africa.

I am currently putting out feelers to see if we can find some donated warehouse space where we can store collected items until we are ready to ship again.

I also am looking for people who have connections to trucking companies who may be able to help with the cost on that end of the shipping container process.”

If you have any questions, or any ideas about helping in any way, please email Bob Cindric at cindricr [at] salineschools [dot] org.

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