Bringing hope to Mexican slums

BRINGING HOPE: Jamieson and Maree Bicknell are part of an Ohope Christian Fellowship group which is heading to Mexico soon where they will build houses for families living in a slum. Photo Louis Klaassen D6836-06

MUM and son Maree and Jamieson Bicknell will be heading to Mexico at the end of the month where they will be part of a team building houses for impoverished families.

Year 9 Whakatane High School student Jamieson is excited to be going.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and it is something I feel good about doing,” he said.

The pair are part of a group of 18 from Ohope Christian Fellowship which plans to build two houses in a slum in Mazatlan. The group has been actively fundraising for the project, including through a Givealittle page, to pay for the construction of the homes.

Each team member is also paying their own flights and expenses, and all funds raised go directly towards building the homes.

Mrs Bicknell said the group, led by Jon McKenzie, planned to build two three-bedroom houses with running water. The project is being done through Homes of Hope, and the group will be given accommodation with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in the slum during its 10-day stay.

The group has had to raise all the funds for the project themselves, said Mrs Bicknell, who is a school community policing officer in Whakatane.

“It costs NZ$10,000 to build the house and $2500 to furnish it,” she said. “We have been fundraising for a year.”

The group has held sausage sizzles, quiz, movie and Mexican-themed nights, sold chocolates and reusable fresh produce bags, raffled firewood and done much more to raise funds.

There is also a Givealittle page where people can make donations to help them reach their fundraising goal of $25,000.

Jamieson said his mates supported him on his philanthropic adventure. “They say it is a really good idea and they wish they were coming with me.”

His mum thinks the trip will be an eye-opener.
Four of those going are under 20, and for some, including the Bicknells, it will be the first time they have embarked on a trip of this nature.

“It will be a great learning experience to see how others do live.

“Organisations have emailed us to prepare ourselves as we will be shocked at the poverty.

It is a slum and people find a patch of land and something to live in.”

To donate to the Ohope Christian Fellowship mission go to
See more on Homes of Hope at