Grade 3 and 4 students at Rimbey Elementary School opened their hearts and dedicated themselves to helping children like themselves on the other side of the world.
Throughout the year students met with Central Alberta Refugee Effort’s rural education coordinator Avery Acheson and broadened their perspectives of life in other parts of the world. Students learned about quality of life and human rights these visits. After meeting Monybany Minyang Dau, one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, the grades 3/4 class felt strongly that they wanted to do what they could to help others who were sick and dying because of poor water quality.
The students organized a bake sale during portfolio walks in March to raise money to help build wells in Atar, Sudan. They approached school administration to present their idea, they wrote letters to the newspaper and made posters to advertise their sale and approached businesses in Rimbey for permission to hang their posters in a visible place. They set up and ran the bake sale themselves.
Support for the project was overwhelming. Both nights of portfolio walks the bake sale sold out within an hour and a half. The generosity of parents was amazing and we are filled with gratitude for their time and effort. Funds raised from the bake sale combined with donations totalled approximately $1,025. We have great appreciation for the willingness of businesses to help the class advertise. Students went above and beyond in their efforts. Garren Skeels, a Grade 3 student, donated half of the money he earned from selling two of his chickens at an auction. Other donations were received from grandparents and from a kind woman in Winfield who read about the project sent a donation to the class. Another student cut dimes off of one of her shirts to donate her own money.
Monybany traveled to Rimbey again on April 19 and the class presented him with the funds raised to support his efforts. Monybany is returning to Sudan in May with enough money to build one well. He plans on building the first well on a school site to make it easier for children to get an education. Following his well building efforts, Monybany dreams of raising enough money to build better school facilities. Currently younger children have their classes held under a tree.
Monybany expressed his genuine gratitude, not for the money raised but for the caring and thought shown by the class. He feels that the world can become a better place by following the example of children. After a first question and answer period with Monybany, Grade 3 student Chelsey Kreil drew a picture of a well with the words “Hope we can help.” Monybany has kept the picture for several months. He told Chelsey she had helped make hope a reality.
The passion and concern for others living in most difficult circumstances shown by the grades 3 and 4 students has been outstanding. They have shown the ability to see beyond borders and reach out to others as citizens of the world. Truly, these children have power and have made a difference in the lives of others. It has been an absolute honour to work alongside these young people. Our future is in good hands.
Further donations can be made to A Better World – water for Atar project at www.abetterworld.com. A Better World is a totally volunteer organization based in Lacombe. For more information visit Facebook and search for Atar Water Project page.