Submitted and Review staff
The children and youth of the Central Alberta Goju Ryu Karatedo, a local non-profit karate school, have taken a serious interest in helping the children of Nepal fight cataracts.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, where over half of its population lives well below the poverty line. These people don’t have access to basic needs such as food, health care and education.
In particular, good eye health, including access to UV protected sunglasses, is difficult to come by causing many young children to suffer from cataracts – a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which in extreme cases, leads to blindness.
As a result, the students of the karate school were sent on a mission to collect over 200 pairs of UV sunglasses to stir change in the villages of Nepal. Over 120 pairs – and still counting, of new and gently used sunglasses were collected by the students along with notes of support, pictures and poems that extend thoughts of friendship and hope to the children of Nepal.
“This is not the first or the last time that the students of this karate school will initiate. Part of their growth as a martial artist is giving back to their community and to their world and becoming an ambassador for positive change,” said Christine Relic, Executive Director and Assistant Instructor of the school. “And it is these acts of courtesy, respect and empowerment that differentiates karate from just simply being a sport to more significantly, being a way of life – a traditional art that strives to perfect the character of oneself and of others.”
Relic said that on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis, the students are encouraged to partake in various themes to help ‘change the world’. Other projects the students have participated in include:
* Creating and donating a children’s book to the local library that highlights the importance of physical, emotional and mental health and ways to achieve it based on their own stories and experiences.
* Completing 2,000 combined pushups to raise over $500 for the local Christmas Bureau.
* Act as ambassadors, through education, for a bully-free community and world.
In the meantime, the karate students will continue to collect and donate sunglasses for the children of Nepal.
“To make this initiative even grander, the students invite any community members to also donate children’s sunglasses so that even more kids in Nepal can practice good eye health,” Relic said. “It’s a small deed on our part but will make a world of difference in the eyes of a child.”
For more information, or to donate sunglasses, please contact the Central Alberta Goju Ryu Karatedo at 403-887-6303.