Teacher Steffi van Dun knows how to bring social studies to life.
She invited my husband Barry Hodgins and me to visit her Grade 6/7 class at BX elementary school to tell her students what life and education are like for children their age in a remote village in Gorkha, Nepal. The room was eerily quiet as the students watched a video showing the total devastation of Aprik Village near the epicentre of the April 25, 2015 earthquake.
When I visited the village in 2014 the old school was crumbling down around the students. Now it is completely gone. Saddened by the fact that all homes, as well as the village school which usually serves 225 students, were destroyed, they decided to have a Valentine bake sale to raise funds for those children on the other side of the world.
“We’re a school,” said BX Grade 6 student Lauren Hoard. “It makes sense to help another school. We had to make the baked goods ourselves. I made chocolate muffins for the sale.”
Grade 7 student Roan Reid said he learned a lot.
“We have such good school supplies and they have close to nothing. I really didn’t know things like that happened in other parts of the world,” he said, adding that his contribution was home made chocolate chip cookies, while Grade 6 student Derek O’Callaghan made mini donuts and cinnamon buns.
Van Dun and her students proudly presented $480 to local non-profit Nepal One Day at a Time Society, which is working in partnership with Kalamalka Rotary and NGO Sambhav Nepal to build a new school in the village. Funds raised by the students will go toward desks and whiteboards for the first four earthquake-resistant classrooms currently under construction. Eight more rooms are needed to complete the school.
Anyone interested making a donation can send a cheque to Nepal One Day at a Time Society, Box 3093 Silver Star Mountain, Vernon, B.C. V1B 3M1.
Patti Shales Lefkos is a freelance writer in Vernon, B.C.