Re­tired Drumheller teach­ers con­tinue ser­vice over­seas

Ger­lings join for­mer Drumhel­lerite’s char­ity work in Kenya

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail file photo

Drumheller teach­ers, Irv and Corinne Ger­ling, have headed back over­seas to con­tinue their work at the Our Lady of Grace Chil­dren’s Home in Kenya.

About a year ago, The Mail brought read­ers the story of the Ger­lings. A few years ago, they re­con­nected with for­mer Drumhe l ler res­i­dent Rita Balachan­dran, nee Ro­vere, who es­tab­lished a trust fund called Ac­tion For God’s Love (AFGL).

AFGL is an all vol­un­teer run or­ga­ni­za­tion, which aims to im­prove the ma­te­rial and spir­i­tual lives of those trapped in poverty.

It built an or­phan­age and school in Kenya on land owned by the Catholic dio­cese called Our Lady of Grace Chil­dren’s Home. Since 2006, Rita has adopted al­most 200 young girls, many of who has lost their par­ent due to Aids.

Las t year the Ger­lings headed to Kenya to vol­un­teer with the or­ga­ni­za­tion, and this year they are headed back again.

“We have re­turned for a two month pe­riod to vol­un­teer at

the school. I am help­ing teach­ers to ex­pand their in­struc­tional strate­gies and Irv is as­sist­ing with the ad­min­is­tra­tion in the home and school,” said Corinne.

Rita left the val­ley in the 1960’s to pur­sue a ca­reer in nurs­ing She mar­ried a prom­i­nent or­tho­pe­dic sur­geon in Sin­ga­pore. Her trust fund was ini­ti­ated in 2002, in mem­ory of her late hus­band.

Since they last vis­ited Kenya, Ac­tion For God’s Love has been granted char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion sta­tus in Canada. This means donors can now re­ceive Cana­dian tax re­ceipts for their do­na­tions.

“One thing we know is that 100% of all monies do­nated go to­wards op­er­at­ing the home and on­go­ing projects,” said Corinne. “Cur­rently, electricity is be­ing in­stalled in the school. Rita is also plan­ning a new build­ing for the kinder­garten classes and a play­ground for the home.”

This is not the only project for AFGL. It has com­pleted projects in Mon­go­lia, Myan­mar, Uganda and Kenya. It also sup­ports stu­dent vol­un­teers who lend a hand for the char­ity.

To learn more or to do­nate go to www.ac­tions­for­god­slove. org

sub­mit­ted

For­mer Drumheller res­i­dent Rita Balachan­dran, nee Ro­vere, with her stu­dents in Kenya. She has es­tab­lished a trust fund called Ac­tion for God’s Love, and Irv and Corinne Ger­ling headed back to Kenya to work with Rita at an or­phan­age and school called Our Lady of Grace Chil­dren’s Home.

Corinne and Irv Ger­ling ar re­turn­ing to Kenya to vol­un­teer.

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