Pupils at Oliver Elementary School are learning that the world doesn’t just revolve around them.
This was keenly demonstrated by a recent fundraiser for Indonesia earthquake/tsunami victims.
Marji Basso’s Grade 6 class developed an action plan with Suman Sharma’s Grade 7s to raise $1,000 for World Vision. This disaster relief money will go towards food, clean water, shelter, blankets, health services and hygiene kits.
Student Ava Grice said she really enjoyed doing this project, which inspired the class to help after hearing about the disaster.
“I like learning about new places and what’s happening in other people’s lives,” she said.
Grice explained that a large earthquake in Indonesia caused a tsunami that destroyed many homes and schools. As a result, many people didn’t have anywhere to live, and some passed away since the crisis, she pointed out.
This prompted the two Oliver classes to join forces to raise money by selling items at several bake sales.
For Grice, the project was quite uplifting.
“I would like to travel and help people out, and I think that this (project) inspired me more to do so.”
Fellow student Kimveer Karwasra said she liked learning about a new country.
“I never really looked into this so it’s nice to know how other people live.”
Karwasra said she learned how other people survive in different environments and how they have to adapt to their surroundings.
She empathized with the people of Indonesia, saying the disaster left them with no food, water or emergency services. But she noted that a lot of donations have helped them with the necessities.
“I’m grateful to be living here (in Oliver),” Karwasra admitted.
Basso outlined other goodwill projects her class has been involved in, including a sock and mitt drive for addicts and the homeless in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
She noted that students are learning about substance abuse and the effects of poverty in various countries, and what those places are doing to reduce poverty.
The donated socks and mittens were given to the Penticton Vees hockey club, which travelled to Vancouver to distribute them as part of the “Stay on Side” drug awareness program.
Locally, Basso’s class has volunteered to help the Okanagan Gleaners “dice and slice” vegetables for the past five years.
Recently the Gleaners donated a bag of dried soup mix (feeds 100) for another fundraiser (on January 25).
The fundraiser is a combined effort with the Grade 6/7 class in Okanagan Falls.
Student Alice James is fundraising to support two students in an orphanage.
“They can only continue their education next year with financial support, otherwise they will be on the streets,” Basso said.
James met and worked with the two boys when she travelled to Tanzania with a school group from Penticton.
The classes are working with a First Nations support worker to have bannock served with soup at the fundraiser.
Basso said a group of students will assist in making the soup and learning how to make bannock. If both schools sell out of their soup combo, $400 will be raised, Basso stated.
Another local effort is known as the “Senior Buddies Project.”
Basso said it includes trips to KcKinney Place and Sunnybank Centre where students (from all classes) connect and interact with the residents.
Basso said this project builds conversational skills and teaches students about ageism.