Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 16, 2009
Students learn education is key to ending poverty
O Ambassadors Club at Holy Family School determined to build school in a developing nation
Students at Holy Family School performed a dinner theatre and raised $7,000, which will go towards building a school in a poverty-stricken are of South Asia.
Club members, like Grade 5 student Alex MacLaren, learned that more than 120 million primary school-aged children are not getting the education they need. Some are working under deplorable conditions and some are sick. In many impoverished communities, there is no school whatsoever.
“Before I joined the club, I thought what I saw on the street was it.
“Now it’s opened my eyes and I know there are starving people who are treated very badly, and some people are not as fortunate as us,” said Hailey Sargeant, an O Ambassadors club member.
The students believe that education is the key to eliminating poverty. Without basic schooling, children don’t develop the confidence and skills they need to break out of the cycle of poverty.
The chance to go to school is a chance at a better life for children, their families and the world at large. Therefore, the students have decided to raise funds to build a school in a poverty-stricken area of South Asia.
“I learned how people in South Asia get treated. They don’t get treated very good by their parents,” said Laura Robbins, another concerned Grade 3 student.
The students’ goal is to raise $8,500. They are unsure in which country the school will be built, although the program coordinator told them most likely in either Sri Lanka or West India.
The decision where to build is not determined until all of the money has been received at the end of June. Any funds above that amount will go towards textbooks, teacher’s salary or a clean water system.
Amber Mastel, a Grade 9 student with O Ambassadors, said that the school’s major fundraiser was a dinner theatre Jan 30.
A buffet of South Asian food, appropriately enough, was served. More than 75 local businesses donated items for a silent auction. A total of $7,000 was raised that evening.
“We are trying to raise awareness of how children our age and younger are being treated,” said Mastel.
She explained how the students have also raised funds through bake sales and candy-grams. Upcoming fundraisers are another bake sale on St. Patrick’s Day, penny carnival at Easter, and other in-school activities.
Starting at 3 p.m. on March 5 the students took a 24-hour Vow of Silence to bring awareness to the millions of men, women and children silenced by destitution and abuse.
“Millions of people all over the world are silenced by poverty. They work in brutal conditions. There is child labour, with children working in factories with deadly chemicals.
“Women are silenced because of religion. This is a way of us giving voice to these people, by being silent for 24 hours,” said Laporte.
The school has a strong belief in creating an inclusive community, said Laporte.
Speaking specifically of student Nathan Devlin, who uses a wheelchair, she said that the students have always stood up for him and made sure that he was included in every aspect of school life without ever looking at his “disability” as a barrier.
“I find it incredible that these kids have been working towards that inclusion all along. These students have always been extremely inclusive in spite of whatever differences people may have. They see an inclusive world already. That’s why I’m so proud of them,” said Laporte.
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