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International Humanitarian Initiatives


Cultural Interpretive Society Charity Work Around The World

Providing clothing, blankets and other forms of aid to communities in need ...





For the last five years, students from Mount Sentinel Secondary School have been taking part in Project Help, an organization that provides community service, both locally and globally.  This year's participants have painted signs, cleaned highways, repaired bus shelters, built bike trails, provided firewood for seniors and planted trees.  In previous years they have travelled to Tijuana, Mexico to build homes and work in orphanages.  Project Help is also providing the funding for a sanitation project in Guatemala.  After working on community projects for over a year, 18 Mount Sentinel students and 3 teachers travelled to Cuba in March to help rebuild a town hit by 3 massive hurricanes last year.  They are very grateful to the volunteers at the Cultural Interpretive Society who made and donated 21 quilts for the students and their teachers to take with them on this venture and to distribute the quilts to needy families.







We are proud to be supporters of the Selkirk College-Guatemala International Nursing Experience.  Third year nursing students and their instructors from Selkirk participate in an international nursing practice involving exploring links between community development and health. Over the last few years, the CIS donated quilts and contributed items to their fundraising events.  The USCC Arts and Crafts Training Centre is a collection depot for towels, bedding and personal hygiene products which the students take with them to distribute.



Peru, South America


Nell Plotnikoff, a CIS member, had opportunities to meet with villagers on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca in Peru.   She distributed caps, toques, mittens, bibs and slippers to children and young mothers.  These items were made and collected by the volunteers of the USCC Cultural Interpretive Society.







Over one hundred pillows and thirty quilts were sewn and donated by the Cultural Interpretive Society to the Kootenay Romanian Relief Society, a group of a dozen families who have adopted children from Romania.  


The following write up is by John Kazakoff.


After experiencing the extreme level of poverty in Romania during their visits, approximately one dozen Kootenay tri-cities families with the common denominator of all having adopted children of Romanian birth formed the Kootenay Romanian Relief Society, a registered Charitable Society.  The purpose of the Society was to help Romanian families in any way we could.


Recycling clothing was a fit for both Canadian and Romanian families.  The first of our many container shipments (ocean going cargo containers approximately 8 x 8 x 50 feet long) of clothes occurred in 1994 with shipments of more clothing, food and medications following.  In making a difference our society not only collected, mended, washed, sorted, packed and shipped the clothing, we sent volunteers from the Kootenays to distribute the clothing allowing us to assure those contributing to the cause that their generosity was being utilized to its full potential and not fueling the flourishing “Black Market”. This distribution process was accomplished through the efforts and co-operation of an elementary school teacher and her school.  The school allowed the container to be secured within the basement and distribution through word of mouth with families coming to the school and receiving 2 changes of clothes assuring fit.


Among the highlights for our Society were the refurbishing an orphanage from top to bottom, construction of a halfway house and construction of a complete residence.  The halfway house, a facility providing education in “Life Skills and Experience” to a revolving group of 12 girls aged 16 thru 17 is of particular interest to the Ladies of the Cultural Interpretive Society.  The blankets and pillows donated by the CIS Ladies were given to the first group of girls entering the halfway program.  These blankets and pillows were to ONLY earthly possession of the girls and remained with them after completion of the program. This program is ongoing today with the graduation of 6 young girls every six months.  The purpose was to provide a transition from the orphanage to life in the real world.

The Kootenay Romanian Relief Society and the people of Romania remain eternally grateful to the Ladies of the Cultural Interceptive Society for their kindness and generosity.  


Regrettably the inclusion of Romania into the European Economic Community EEC has curtailed the provision of certain types of aide, however should this status change the KRRS will once again resume our program.


John Kazakoff



Zambia, Africa


In October 2008, 3 local women went to Zambia as part of the Nelson and Kaoma Alliance's (NAKA) on-going work with the Zambian Women For Change organization.  The Cultural Interpretive Society volunteers made and donated 15 mats and quilts to be taken to this group that helps  empower women in the outlying regions of Zambia to have a voice and to help themselves create a better life.






Rotoplast - Rotary Club International


Volunteer doctors, in conjunction with a project of the Rotary Club, provide free reconstructive surgery to children and adults with cleft lip, cleft palate and burn injuries in developing countries.  There are very few supplies such as bedding and blankets available in the areas where these reconstructive surgeries are performed. Many children’s quilts have been lovingly made and donated by the volunteers of the Cultural Interpretive Society.




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