Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
July 2, 2001
St. Albert students build school in Mozambique
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
ST. ALBERT — Students at a Catholic school in St. Albert have built a school and funded an orphanage in faraway Mozambique.
Their efforts come through Bertha Kennedy Catholic Community School's Heart to Heart program and two allies on the scene - the grandparents of two of Bertha Kennedy's students.
For their service project last year, the Grade Six students gave financial assistance to an orphanage outside Maputo, Mozambique.
This year the whole school became involved in a bigger project. Fifteen classes raised money to help build a school, as well as providing teaching aids and school supplies to an elementary school in Totoe, Mozambique.
"Our students did everything to raise money," said Sharon Prefontaine, Grade 4 teacher and project coordinator.
Earn to Serve is the spirit that moved the students to raise $649 by shovelling sidewalks, washing cars and cutting lawns among other things.
On June 19, they were able to see the results of their efforts through the presentation of Jack and Elly Dalmaijer, the school's liaisons to Totoe.
"When you're a Christian, you cannot help but volunteer," said Elly Dalmaijer, who with her husband was sent by their Church to Mozambique to do flood relief.
When the Dalmaijers, members of the Christian Reformed Church of St. Albert, heard of Heart to Heart through their daughter, whose sons are students at Bertha Kennedy, they did not hesitate to ask for help for the people of Totoe.
Bertha Kennedy students learned how their counterparts in Totoe are different.
They could not believe that students in Totoe do not have desks and chairs to sit on while taking lessons. They sit on the floor, which for Bertha Kennedy students is unimaginable.
A classroom in Totoe, made of four bare walls with a tin roof, does not even have a blackboard. That is totally different from what Bertha Kennedy has.
Students in Totoe have to walk for miles under the baking sun to go to school.
The majority of the students in Totoe are boys because of the cultural belief that it is more important for the boys to get education while girls stay at home and help with the household chores.
"Our students became really interested and concerned about the students in Totoe," said Prefontaine.
"When Mozambique was devastated by a flood last year, they wanted to know the condition of the students in Totoe," Profontaine added.
From January to June, the Dalmaijers, who stayed in Maputo, Mozambique's capital, kept students at Bertha Kennedy up to date on the development of their project through email.
"Our experience in Africa is very exotic. It might not be glamorous but we shared our time, our gifts and money," said Elly Dalmaijer. "Being a Christian and living your faith is what it is all about."
"The Bible teaches us we should open our hearts to the poor and that is what Elly and I decided to do," Jack Dalmaijer said.
The Dalmaijers believe that to teach children about helping others should start right now, so that they will bring the attitude when they grow up.
Bertha Kennedy promotes a positive Christian climate. This mission is done from heart to heart.
St. Albert and Totoe are oceans apart, but they are connected by a long string of hearts.
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