Africa to Canada
A message from the Africa to Canada Committee:
A huge thank you to everyone that helped contribute either financially or through hours volunteering. We are so happy and thrilled to have the Diarra's safe in Canada!
Modibo Diarra: Not without my wife & daughter"
Africa to Canada Committee Reaches $15,000 Fundraising Goal
The Africa to Canada committee, namely Wendy Needle, Carla Vautour, Bev Szemerda, Bruce Wright, Ruth Rayburn-Arseneault, Susan Thomas, Sheila Stansfield, Apryll Stansfield, David Cooper, Rebecca & Geoffrey McCullogh have exceeded their fundraising goal of $15,000 in support of Modibo Diarra, his wife Mariam and three year old daughter, Cindy.
The Mill Rats would like to extend their sincere appreciation and gratitude for the community members who helped out whether through volunteering their time and effort, helping with coordinating the events, or supporting the cause through charitable donations and positive word of mouth.
When these people, who were initially strangers, first heard about the tragic situation Modibo was experiencing in Mali due to the coup d'etat, they joined together to coordinate a series of fundraising efforts to raise 15K. The first was an afternoon at Rhoda's Flea Market, the second a live auction at Jake's Sports Bra and the third, a multicultural & entertainment extravaganza at the Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
Their Grand Finale event - the Africa to Canada 'Not Without My Wife & Child' 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament at the Rothesay Commons was a huge success.
At the end of March/early April, Modibo flew to Mali, Africa to protect his wife Mariam and his little girl Cindy. It has been Modibo's hope to have his family join him over in Canada for some time now. The morning he was supposed to fly out of New York, a coup d'etat broke out in Mali, very close to where his wife and child reside. The country's president went missing and the borders to the country were closed down. For almost a week, Modibo stayed in the States awaiting the opening of the Morrocco border so he could embark on the first leg of his journey. Soon after, he was finally able to join Mariam and Cindy in Mali.
An incredibly humble, genuine and sincere individual, Modibo has made himself a staple of the Saint John community participating in fundraising events, camps & clinics and volunteering his time at events like the Empty Stocking Fund and the Christmas Parade.
Through joint efforts of friends and community members, Modibo has been able to get in contact with one of the best immigration lawyers in the country, Mr. Lee Cohen who has graciously reduced his fees.
When asked earlier this season about what inspires him, Modibo answered, "Fighting for my little girl to have a better life".
Modibo's story is nothing short of incredible. At the young age of 16, Modibo walked 1000km alone, from Bamako to Guinnea with all of his belongings in a tiny backpack. He did this to acquire a passport to fly over to North America in the hopes of playing professional basketball. Modibo was joined by another young hopeful teenager who had come from another part of Africa - the two bonded and waited with patience for their passports to arrive. Unfortunately, in the waiting process, Modibo's friend and confidante, became sick with malaria and past away. Modibo boarded the plane alone to come meet his new life in North America.
The life he once knew and the obstacles he overcame in order to aid his family back home financially, are indicative of his determined and positive character. We are talking about a gentleman who can move mountains through his incredible will and positive mindset.
Although the committee has been successful in raising the $15,000 goal for the Diarra family, all paperwork and medical examinations must be cleared before they can be granted VISA's. There are always unforeseen costs that come up when a country is in grave danger. We are still accepting donations at the address below or online through PayPal.
Please stay tuned for updates by visiting the site.
Africa to Canada 3 on 3 Tournament photos coming soon!
Cheques made payable to:
The Saint John Mill Rats Foundation
133 Prince William Street, Suite 9
Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 2B5
Donations of goods can be mailed to:
The Saint John Mill Rats Foundation
c/o C&E Feeds
482 North Street
Calais, ME 04619
Africa to Canada 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament