Their initial goal was $200. But students at Poplar Ridge School surpassed that by more than five times, raising $1,100 for A Better World.
Kyle Belich and Emma Belich, on behalf of classmates, presented a cheque to Eric Rajah, co-founder of the humanitarian organization last Tuesday.
Student teacher Heidi Mallard, said part of her course work at Canadian University College in Lacombe, included doing a service project. “I’m big into missions,” she said.
She hoped they could raise enough for one irrigation pump for a community in Africa — $200.
But once the garage sale she and Grade 5 students organized was over, their total was $1,100. Lots of people contributed.
One of the things Mallard used to motivate the students was getting them to carry a huge bucket of water “to give them an idea how hard kids have to work”. Carrying the bucket of water signified what African youngsters would have to do, sometimes more than once a day, just to survive.
Rajah thanked the students and staff profusely.
“I’m always happy to come to talk to children,” he said, noting it’s the children he thinks about when he travels to Africa. “Africa means lots of fine children, good children, who need schools.”
“When we put in an irrigation pump it can provide water to grow crops,” Rajah said, showing a picture of the stair-stepper type pumping mechanism that draws water out of a well.
Rajah said they like to provide a garden right behind each school they built. “A lot of children come to school without much food. If they have good food they can study better. We’re not only going to help feed them, but we help them learn.”
Asked the greatest need he sees in the parts of Africa he works, Rajah suggested they could find a small school to adopt and write letters back and forth. Or desks are $30 each and seat four children. Usually books are shared among those four people so there’s a need for more books. Water and water storage tanks are other priorities.
Rajah answered a variety of questions from the inquisitive students who attended the presentation.