What was intended to be just one well for one village, became 108 water projects for 108 villages in India, Haiti and in six countries in Africa, creating a lasting impact on thousands of rural families. And we feel good about that.

There will be no application process in 2020, but, during the year, our final projects will be completed and inspected.

Community Supports Wishing Wells Society

Wishing Wells was inspired by the work of one man, Fr. Boniface Mendes MSFS, who worked tirelessly for the poor in his native India. He died in 1998. In his memory, Wishing Wells was established and held its first fundraising concert, enabling the society to fund a village well in Karivde, India. The enthusiastic response to the project prompted the desire to continue the work of Fr. Bonnie, and, since that first project, the society . has worked with local on-the-ground partners providing sustainable community water systems.

From 2000 until 2005, the major fundraising activity for Wishing Wells has been an annual concert of inspirational music held in the St. Andrews Catholic Church, St. Andrews, Nova Scotia, but there have been many other supports, not only financially, but by various other means...

  • The St. Andrews Parish community, Pastors and Parish Council members have supported the use of the church as a concert venue and provided office assistance.
  • Members of the wider St. Andrews, Antigonish, Guysborough and Nova Scotia communities have volunteered their talents for the annual concerts. Performers included several EMCA nominees as well as three winners of this prestigious award. Local and internationally recognized talent have graced the stage including: Eastern Star Singers, Men of the Deeps, George Canyon, Mary Jane Lammond, Jamie Sparks, Steve Wright, Coady International Institute participants, Molly Thomason, MaryColin Chisholm, Betsy MacDonald,  Antigonish Creative Dancers, St.F.X. Choir, Antigonish County Fiddlers, and many others. Paul Lowe was inspired to write a song “Pour Out Our Hearts” for the 2004 concert. Those of many faiths, cultures and backgrounds have contributed their expertise to the success of these concerts.
  • Local dairy farmers through Scotsburn Milk Producers Association have contributed almost every year through their third world development fund, a true
    example of farmers helping farmers.
  • Items ranging from woodcarving, original paintings, cameras, framed photographs, fabric and crafts from India, Thailand, Africa and China, potted trees and theatre tickets have been donated for sale or auction.
  • Eight members of one family stitched the winter away and raised $3072 by selling tickets on the quilt they made.
  • Residents of five Antigonish County communities organized a refundables collection in the summer of 2005 raising $1446 for that year’s project
  • Large and small monetary donations have come from across Canada.

History of Wishing Wells

After the death of Father Boniface Mendes MSFS in 1998, his brother Fr. Felix Mendes MSFS asked if he could continue the friendship between Fr. Bonnie and the van den Heuvel family. It was then that Mary van den Heuvel asked him if she could help with a development project in Fr. Bonnie’s memory, and so the Wishing Wells project began with the proceeds of a memorial concert slated to dig a well in a poor farming area, thereby continuing the work that Fr. Bonnie had been doing.
This first fund raising concert was held in St. Andrews Church on Solidarity Sunday, 2000 and rallied many people from the surrounding area to the idea of our community helping a community on the other side of the world to access clean water.
Each year since 2000, (except 2006) various successful fund raising activities and donations have allowed us to provide sixty-eight wells in India, Africa and Haiti. (see ‘Projects page').
In 2006, Wishing Wells Society established itself as an independent body under the direction of a Board of Directors. We took a 'time out' to let the unfinished projects catch up, to re-organize and (with the help of a StFX Service Learning volunteer) to build this website. In 2007, we continued only the refundable program and donated the funds to the Obeagu, Nigeria well project. It is a project of four Antigonish county communities (Lakevale, Georgeville, Cape George & Maryvale). In 2008, we were back in full swing, and in 2009, we became a registered Canadian Charity.

Wishing Wells ceased operations on October 22, 2020