Life can be lonely sometimes for the spouses of Foreign Service staff.
In 1987, the wives and husbands of diplomats in Toronto formed an association to bring the group closer together. They participate in coffee mornings, luncheons and book club events and visit museums and other places of interest in the Greater Toronto Area.
They have also organized fundraising events to support several initiatives, including Sunny View Public School that serves the needs of elementary students with physical disabilities and “Project Hope,” which aims to raise money for school supplies for students in underprivileged communities in Africa and other parts of the world.
Last Saturday night, the Consular Spouses Association of Toronto (CSAT) held a fundraising dinner and fashion show to assist the Joy Valley Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya.
CSAT president, Kelsa Smith-Mouskourova, said artist and anthropologist, Patrice Stephens-Bourgeault, introduced the group to the home.
“Patrice’s daughter stumbled across the orphanage while working in Kenya,” said the American-born president, who is the wife of Bulgaria’s consul general in Toronto, Ivo Mouskourova. “Patrice went to the orphanage and she brought it to the attention of Dr. Lola Ramocan (wife of Jamaica’s Consul-General to Toronto, George Ramocan) who attends the same church as she does. When we saw the faces of those children and we heard their stories, we knew we had to do something.”
Established in 2005 by Rev. Jared Otieno Ogutu and his wife, Joy Valley is a faith-based orphan home and informal school for about 100 young children abandoned by their parents. Without this school located in a slum community, the boys would most likely become child labourers and the girls would end up as prostitutes.
It costs nearly $8,000 annually to educate the children.
The CSAT is aiming to raise $2,500 from its fundraiser at the Courtyard Downtown Toronto hotel.
“My husband is Bulgarian and I have visited orphanages in that country,” said Smith-Mouskourova. “So I have an understanding of how far a little bit of money can help.”
A member of the Church of God International Canada, Dr. Ramocan said she’s proud to be associated with the organization.
“Though we come and go, we are still mindful of the needs of people, especially children and we want to do our part to help wherever we can,” said the CSAT immediate past president.
Mariotte Itoua, the wife of the Republic of Congo’s honorary consul general, Jean-Michel Itoua, organized the fashion show while Jay Douglas and the All-Stars band provided musical entertainment.