Gloria and Ed Cardoso’s Breslau garage is jam-packed with hammers, tool boxes, saws, and other hand tools. The couple have been collecting the tools and other materials to help set up a training centre for adults in a rural area of Sierra Leone. People across the region have donate thousands of items that will help poor villagers of the west African nation earn a living as carpenters, masons, seamstresses and small-engine mechanics.
They had such success collecting tools for the GEKO-Sierra Leone charity that they’re adding books, computers, clothing and a car to the cause.
The Cardosos have collected early readers, reference books and textbooks that can be used in schools for the resource centers.
The goal is to be able to set up a small resource centre in villages where higher-achieving children can offer help to other children in the village.
“Many of the children in Sierra Leone have parents who are illiterate; they have no access to support for their schoolwork or any reference materials so we are sending hundred of resource materials from young children’s books to encyclopedias,” said Gloria.
Originally, filling a 20-foot shipping container was the goal for the Breslau couple but after discussions with friends and family the Cardosos decided to double the size of the container to allow room for the 1998 Nissan Maxima that had been donated by friend Liz Peloso.
“We discussed sending a car to the charity that we are working with as it would allow them to drive from community to community and help with the delivery of the tools, books and clothing that we have collected,” said Gloria. “We found out it would only cost $1,000 more to ship a 40-foot container so it only made sense to make use of that.”
Doubling the size of the container allows space for the car, the three crates of tools, one crate of books, and the donated clothing, sewing machines and computers. Shipping the container to Sierra Leone will cost $5,000.
“We have had so many people donate to the cause especially the Rural Wellington Hospitals in Fergus and Elora who donated children’s clothing and books from the three consignments stores,” said Gloria. “We also have had our neighbour, Tim Hall, helping us move the crates and store them in his warehouse. He has been a real angel helping us.”
To offset the cost of shipping the container to Africa, the couple is selling coffee purchased and wrapped in cloth made in Africa for $20 a bag. Only 30 of the bags of coffee remain.
Anyone interested in purchasing some coffee or donating to the cause can visit 292 Townsend Dr. in Breslau.