Kenyan widows are now able to better support their families thanks to goats from a group of Winnipeg high schoolers.

Earlier this year, students from a Winnipeg high school embarked on a special service-learning trip across the globe. The Grade 10 to 12 students from Oak Park High School and their teachers, travelled to Kenya in March where they were able to serve a village of widowed Kenyan women.

"We started these trips in 2013 as a service-learning trip and travelled out to the Mara in West Kenya," said Oak Park teacher, Darren Klapak. "This year we teamed up with Camps International and worked with them to build a trip that would give the students the experience of immersing themselves in a culture and doing good service learning."

While there, the students fixed up a primary and secondary school, dewormed goats, and built a widowed mother a brand-new mud hut.

For Grade 11 student Abby Johnston, the trip was unlike anything she'd experienced. 

"It was definitely the farthest have been for my parents, which was a big experience for me. And then I've never been on that long of a plane ride," said Johnston. "I've never experienced anything like that. I tell everybody it was truly a life-changing experience."

Another great part of the trip was meeting the village Mamas

"Mama Mercy was the head Mama we got to meet with," said Johnston. "We got to experience their stories, and she shared their story of how the women in the village have overcome so much. Every day was just a life-changing day."

Once they returned to Winnipeg, they felt they needed to do more. After speaking with the head of the village, Mama Mercy, they learned that giving each of the widows a goat would make life so much easier. 

They immediately got to work, fundraising enough to purchase 43 goats for the women.

"We had sports teams, individual students on their own coming in and saying they wanted to adopt a goat, and it just took off from there," Klapak explained. "In about a month and a half, we'd hit our goal and we're able to send the funds to Mama Mercy."

"It was just amazing to see our school come together as a whole," said Abby.

Mama Mercy sent a video response to Oak Park School after receiving the goats giving thanks to everyone involved. 

"You have blessed many families in this community," said Mama Mercy. "May God bless you. May God open your way of blessing because you have blessed many. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Although they do not plan to return to Kenya next year, Oak Park High School will continue to stay in contact with Mama Mercy and the village.