Two Grade 9 girls at H.J. Cody School are currently working to make educational change happen in a third world country.
Jaidra Russell and Brynne Takhar are working to raise $10,000 for a school to be built in a country such as India, Kenya or somewhere else in which education isn’t easily accessible.
This school would give boys and girls an equal opportunity to learn and be educated.
To kick start their fundraising goal they took advantage of the international We Are Silent day Friday, which is part of Free The Children. The girls were able to collect over $800 that day and are still continuing to fundraise and collect.
Some of the school’s students went 24 hours without communicating via talking, texting, gesturing, e-mailing or using social media and some even wore duct tape over their mouths to prove a point.
The lack of communication was a sign of protest to the voices who are silenced in some third world countries.
What has motivated these girls to carry out their fundraising goal is hearing inspirational speeches when they attended ‘We Day’, a part of the Free The Children campaign rececently held in Calgary at the Saddledome.
“We listened to them talk and they were super inspiring and we decided we were going to do our best,” Takhar said.
Hearing the motivational speakers talk the girls learned they can ‘be the change they want to see in the world’.
“We can be that difference,” Russell said. “We can be that generation that cleans up.”
Another reason why the girls are leading out this challenge is because of the inspirational story of Malala Yousafzai, a girl who survived an assassination attempt because she spoke out on girls’ rights.
Both girls said that even at the age of 14-years-old, they understand they too could make a difference just like Malala did.
“Girls deserve to have an education just as much as boys do,” Takhar said. “If we can build a school that will definitely help.”
“All it takes is one idea and this is proof,” Russell added. “If one school can build another school that’s exactly what we’re going to do. It’s not impossible and if we have the option to help why not take that option?”
The goal of raising $10,000 by June isn’t an unrealistic goal as their hearts and minds are truly in it and they will continue to fundraise throughout the year.
They believe they have the power to create change and make a difference in the world.
“It might be a bit difficult but it’s for a good cause,” Takhar said.
The girls said that one mind and one idea shared with another can make a whole group of amazing things happen.
This is why they introduced the idea to their whole school Monday and have done well at getting many students involved.
“We’ve done class announcements and we’re going to keep doing it,” Takhar said. “We told them to be visual about it to keep duct tape over their mouths or wear a shirt. If they are visual about it this adds to the number of people doing it and the more people doing it the bigger impact it will have.”
The plan is to keep fundraising until they raise their goal amount and then they will donate the money.
Takhar said the biggest thing she has learned so far from getting involved with this project is that one idea and one thought can really add up to something that will actually change the world.
“If you have an idea and you make a plan and you go for it and you work hard you can actually do it,” she said.
The coolest thing about this initiative is seeing people talk in the hallway about it as Takhar said some people think they are crazy because they are doing it for a full24 hours.
Russell said people are surprised because they think that not talking is hard.
“The stereotypical 14-year-old does not do things like this but we are,” Takhar added.
If you wish to help the girls get to their fundraising goal – please call the H.J. Cody School at 403-887-2412.