Community

Dream Auction benefits Kenyan school

Jerry Tellier (right), with Kal Rotary, presents a cheque for $8,000 on behalf of the club to Vernon secondary school Global Action teacher Susan Egan (left) and students Keiten Brown, Sylvanna Wilson and Mykenzee Ramunno. - Katherine Mortimer/Morning Star
Jerry Tellier (right), with Kal Rotary, presents a cheque for $8,000 on behalf of the club to Vernon secondary school Global Action teacher Susan Egan (left) and students Keiten Brown, Sylvanna Wilson and Mykenzee Ramunno.
— image credit: Katherine Mortimer/Morning Star

A donation from the Kalamalka Rotary Club will go a long way in a small village on the other side of the world.

Thanks to funds raised at last year’s annual Dream Auction, the club has donated $8,000 towards materials and construction of a school in the village of Ngosauni in Kenya.

The school is a project of the Global Action program at Vernon secondary school, led by teacher Susan Egan, who takes groups of students to Kenya in the summer to connect with their African counterparts in friendship and to help build the school.

The donation from Kal Rotary will help to purchase materials, while students from the Vernon School District will provide the volunteer labour.

“A project like this affects not only the lives of the students in Kenya, but also the students who go over there,” said Jerry Tellier, with the club. “We are excited about this project.”

Helping students to complete their education is nothing new for the club. It has built a school and is sponsoring girls from poor rural families in Ethiopia so they can finish high school.

Egan said the club deserves enormous thanks for its donation and said it will go a long way towards ensuring the education of students in the small village on the Masai Mara Game Reserve in southwestern Kenya.

“I’m just floored, and so incredibly grateful to Jerry and to Kal Rotary and to everyone who attended the Dream Auction, everyone who attends the event has made a huge difference in the lives of the kids in Kenya who wouldn’t otherwise be able to go to school.”

Glancing at the new VSS under construction, Egan stressed that building a school in Kenya is not on the same scale as building a new school in Vernon.

“They are very basic, with cinder block walls, a tin roof and a concrete floor,” she said. “The tin roof is very important because during the rainy season, the kids sit in mud, with eight students crammed into a desk, so it’s not very effective for learning and with a new building, you have windows, a floor, a desk, books, a white board, it’s the difference between night and day and the kids there are so appreciative.”

VSS Grade 10 student Keiten Brown made the trip last year and she said it’s an experience that will stay with her the rest of her life.

“When you go there, they appreciate everything so much and yet they have so little — it makes us feel greedy,” said Brown, who is  planning to attend medical school after graduation, eventually working abroad. “When I got home it made me appreciate everything we have here.

“One of the girls gave me a bracelet and said we will always be best friends, so I definitely want to go back there and I want to continue to help them out.”

The Global Action students are working with Me to We and its sister organization Free the Children, which empowers children in North America to take action to improve the lives of fellow children overseas. By combatting child labour around the world, it creates opportunities for children to go to school to ensure they will have a better future.

 

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