Welcome to World Neighbours Canada

World Neighbours Canada Society was founded in Oliver, B.C. in 1989. Programs are currently active in three program areas: Nepal in Asia, Burkina Faso in Africa and Honduras and Guatemala, in Central America.

Taking steps to reduce child malnutrition in Burkina Faso

posted by Judy Gray, director, World Neighbours Canada


yellow indicates moderately malnourished

yellow indicates moderately malnourished

Peter and I returned, in early April, from a monitoring mission to Burkina Faso to touch base with our partner NGO (APDC) and to deepen our understanding of their activities. Rates of malnutrition among children are tragically high in the area. We were able to attend a training session for community health animators about the dépistage process (malnutrition screening), one of the activities that will be undertaken as part of our new Maternal Child Health Initiative supported by Global Affairs Canada. What might appear a simple procedure to us – measuring upper arm circumference and recording the results – is not easy for people who have never had formal schooling. In addition to training the community health workers, APDC must train a “secretary” – a member of the


recording names, ages and nutrition level

recording names, ages and nutrition level

village, who is literate. The following day, we visited the village of Kpartangou to witness the process “in action”. There were about 50 mothers gathered under the big tree, waiting to have their children screened. A number of children fell into the moderately or severely malnourished category – the goal is now to diagnose the cause and then provide training and support so mothers can begin to alleviate the situation. Mothers were keen to learn about the opportunity to have their child evaluated at the regional Health Centre. The visit to these remote villages in eastern Burkina Faso, made us realize, once again, how slowly change occurs in many parts of the world and the gravity of the problems that many people face. We are glad to be part of World Neighbours Canada – an organization that is 

waiting for the malnutrition screening

waiting for the malnutrition screening

willing to accept this rate of change, and remains in  project areas for the long haul!


Tributes to Victorino continue …

posted by Judy Gray, with information from Brita and Bob Park

Though I never met Victorino, those who were part of World Neighbours Canada in its early days did meet both Victorino and his wife, Senia. It is clear that he left an indelible impression on those people and clearly embodied the philosophy of World Neighbours Canada. Here are some further reminiscences, from Brita Park, a former Director on the Board:

Senia and Victorino

Senia and Victorino

“Victorino spent several days with us in our log house during the early 1990’s when he was banned from speaking at a Rotary Int’l event in Yakima, Washington. His annual income was considered too low, for him not to be a statistical risk of “defecting” to the US. Bob and I remember how Victorino patted the side of our old loghouse while telling us: “Love lives here” . And how, while hiking in our hills, he took some of the sandy soil and some of the clay into his hands to rub it and evaluate it for growing quality.

And we remember Victorino remarking on how good it is to see children, like our two, so healthy and energetic that they can be rambunctious. (I, in the meantime, was rather embarrassed that they were misbehaving in the presence of a guest.) 

I remember, too, the great discussions we had — for example, how Victorino remarked that in Honduras there was too much passive acceptance of ” fate”, and attributing people’s dire situations  to divine punishment for sin, whereas here in Canada everything was considered ” fixable” by human ingenuity, with no need to do any soul searching on how we might be needing to reconnect with community and nature as a response to the gift of creation. All this kind of talk was in a garbled “spanglish” that served us well enough, since we felt we were kindred spirits. And he had that smile! 
Graem Nelson, a World Neighbours Canada director once told me that he felt he had so much to learn from this minimally schooled man from another ” world”. Bob and I felt the same way. By the way … Victorino earned his Secondary School diploma at age 24, already the father of several children at the time.

One of our sons, who visited us recently, and learned of Victorino’s death, reminisced about his memory of Victorino: “that friendly man with the permanent baseball cap on his head, except when he plunked it on the floor beside his chair at mealtimes.”

(l to r) Edwin Escuto, Senia, Michael Newman and Victorino

(l to r) Elmer Lopez, Senia (Victorino’s wife), Michael Newman (a former director of WNC) and Victorino 

The vitality of Victorino is so strong in our memories. Bob and I remember going to Victorino’s and Senia’s home, in 2003, where he went to the backyard to butcher a chicken for our meal, and then came to show us his study, with a computer, and, most importantly, the super encyclopedia two of the founding World Neighbours directors had given his family. Several of his children were also there; each on a path to good education, it seemed to us. For Bob and me, Victorino personified what the word ” good leadership” should mean.

I’m sitting here with tears for the loss of this wonderful person. Just think of his family, and his community! “


WNC directors mourn the loss of Victorino Rivera

posted by Judy Gray with information from Graem Nelson, WNC Director

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 8.42.54 AMWorld Neighbours Canada directors learned yesterday of the death of Victorino Rivera Flores, the first local trainer hired by WNC in the 1980s in Honduras. Victorino was instrumental in motivating and developing program activities in the El Socorro region of that country. Graem Nelson met Victorino several times and has written a moving tribute about this man and has included some vivid personal memories. Graem’s tribute follows …  “I was very sad to hear of the death of Victorino Rivera Flores.  He will be mourned by his wife Senia and quite a few children, I can recall five at least.  And probably by now, some grandchildren.

In 1989, I led a trip of Rotarians to Honduras to meet with the Siguatepeque Rotary Club and World Neighbors Oklahoma staff.  The Rotarians included Michael Newman, who was my friend in Oliver, new to Rotary and on his first trip to a “less developed country”.  It also included Bob Ellis, who went on to found The Gleaners in Oliver, influenced by his first glimpse of real poverty in the countryside and cities of Honduras.

After getting settled in at Siguatepeque and meeting our Rotary counterparts, we all went to lunch at a fish restaurant at Lake Yojoa.  Dr. Miriam Dagen was the temporary area representative for World Neighbors and she welcomed our group to the lunch.  We met a young volunteer World Neighbors trainer named Victorino Rivera.  He had been working as a farmer trainer at the WN program at El Rosario, a mining village not very distant from Siguatepeque.  Victorino was proposed as the leader of the program at El Socorro, which would become the first program funded by WNCanada. With some amazing help from Rotary that continues to this day.

Victorino was already a big young man.  He had an infectious grin that spread from ear to ear.  He had intelligence, charisma and humour.  Our Rotary group was very happy to give him a chance to be a WN program coordinator.

Victorino quickly recruited a fine staff of farmer volunteers to get going on the development program.  It included a progressive local farmer whose farm included a neglected hillside visible from the highway.  This is where Victorino decided to establish the demonstration plot, where it could be seen by everyone who passed.  The transformation of this rocky hillside into a beautiful terraced garden took a year of work; it was remarkable and was noted by everyone who passed. Continue reading

Celebrating Mothers

GRAY0662If you are wondering how to honour your mother this Mother’s Day, why not consider making a donation in her name to World Neighbours Canada and have your money go directly to support mothers not as fortunate as yours.

All our projects support some of the poorest women in areas of Nepal, Honduras and Burkina Faso and provide opportunities for women, and often mothers, to acquire skills that will allow them to earn a little money of their own, improve their health and better care for their children.Honduran Mother 05-30-2006

Should you wish to have a card sent to your mother as a memento of your gift, please send an email to the following address (bruce@worldneighbours.ca), along with your name, and the name and address of the recipient and a card will be mailed shortly. Information about making a donation is available on the website. www.worldneighbours.ca 

The Edmonton Eskimos' , against the BC Lions' , during first half CFL Football action in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday, August 19, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Jackson

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