The Teddy Bear Project
Organized by: Fiona and Cecilia Luther
We will keep you posted on our progress!
December 10, 2016
We hope that you will consider making a donation towards a project which we believe will make a real impact on at least 150 children in Kenya this holiday season. We are calling this The Teddy Bear Project.
This winter break we will be spending some time in Kenya, and we have developed this program to make an impact on children in several orphanages and hospitals we are planning to visit. The fundamental idea is to give 150 of these children a special teddy bear that we pray will become a friend and provide some love, hope and perhaps a little security. We know…you may be thinking “these kids need food or water, not a teddy bear!” Well, this isn’t only a teddy bear for them...
MORE THAN A TEDDY BEAR: Many of these children are truly on their own, at a very young age; many don’t have a mother or a father to look after them or to care for them. Some go from orphanage to orphanage, and others have terminal illnesses. A teddy bear isn’t only a toy, it’s a friend, a buddy; someone they will always have by their side no matter what. We also see these teddy bears as guardian angels to these children, and we plan to have them blessed by the local priest. Psychologists have looked into why it is that children become emotionally attached to cuddly toys, blankets or simple, smelly old scraps of material. The answer is that children believe their companions possess a unique essence. Not only that, but these security objects also provide psychological comfort and peace to young children, especially in unusual or unique situations.
INSPIRING EXPERIENCES: Two prior experiences inspired us to come up with this project. "In 2002, at age 2, I [Cecilia] had a respiratory event and ended up in the Children's Hospital ER. During my stay, a family friend gave me a teddy bear with the simple 'get well soon' intention. This teddy bear, Jackie, provided me with an enormous sense of security and ease. I kept Jackie by my side for many years to come because she wasn’t just a teddy bear, but she was my guardian and my point of peace." Another special experience we had was three years ago when we gave Christmas gifts, mostly stuffed animals, to children in a very poor village in Mancora, Peru. It was amazing to see how excited these children were over a "just a stuffed animal". We’ve seen how children are affected by small deeds like these and we have come up with this idea, and maybe can help grow this project into a larger tradition in the near future. In fact, we already have a partner who wants to distribute our teddy bears in early January into two children's hospitals in Cartagena, Colombia--so if this works, we hope this project may catch on!
WHERE: To help us with this project in Kenya, we have formed a relationship with Father Ambrose, from the Catholic Diocese of Malindi, Kenya, serving in the seaside parish of Watamu. He is also a Director of the Pope Francis Rescue Home for abused children which we will also be visiting. Together, we will go to two orphanages, one is the Asante Sana Children's Home, and also the Malindi Sub-County Hospital. While in Nairobi, we have arranged to visit the Nyumbani Children's Home, a refuge for HIV/AIDs-affected children.
REQUEST FOR DONATIONS: So far, we have ordered 150 special, angel teddy bears which are being sent to Kenya from China. We strongly believe that these bears have the ability to comfort, bring joy and, hopefully, some security to 150 precious children this holiday season. If you are able to help us, we would be extremely grateful for any donations that will immediately go towards covering the costs of this project. Truly, any amount of money will make a difference and an impact (each Teddy Bear is $10 including shipping and customs costs). Our goal is to reach $1500 to cover the costs.
If we are actually able to exceed our initial goal, the additional funds will be contributed to the upcoming project in Cartagena, Colombia (all of this will be updated on our project's Facebook page). Every dollar counts, and over time we plan to continue to lower the costs per teddy bear and hope to find other passionate friends to help us reach more children around the world and share our love with them.
We sincerely thank you!
Fiona and Cecilia Luther