Malala’s Message

Jamie Heap
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Rotarian and elementary students give presentation on the plight of education in Pakistan, Haiti while launching Nickels for Knowledge campaign

River Hebert District Elementary School launched its Nickels for Knowledge campaign on Tuesday that will help raise money for school uniforms and school fees for one student for one year in Haiti.  For the past six years, the school and its students have been involved in a number of charitable fundraising campaigns similar to this one. Pictured, from left are (back row): Emily Boudreau, Rotarian Pam Harrison and Jenna Gower. (Front row): Abby Gower and Chloe Fagan.

RIVER HEBERT-The right to receive an education. While it’s a privilege that most Canadian children take for granted, access to a free education is not as readily attainable in such countries as Pakistan or Haiti due to political unrest and poverty.

On Tuesday, a day ahead of National Child Day/ United Nations Universal Day of the Child, Rotarian Pam Harrison, who was assisted by River Hebert Elementary students Emily Boudreau, Chloe Fagan, Abby Gower and Jenna Gower, gave an eye-opening presentation on how the right to an education came to be enshrined in and reaffirmed by the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child circa 1959.

As grade six student Abby Gower held up a copy of I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Harrison told students about the story of Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl who spoke out against the Taliban when they took control of the remote Swat Valley region of northern Pakistan.

Malala fought for her right to an education, a fight that nearly ended her life. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, Malala was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school when she was just 15 years-old.  Miraculously, Malala survived this terrorist attack to champion her cause in the hallowed halls of the UN in New York, earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in the process.

“The Universal Day of the Child is a United Nations project based on the Universal Rights of the Child,” said Harrison. “For the past six years, River Hebert Elementary has raised money for (anti-malaria) bed nets for children in Africa; water filtration systems to Haiti; chickens to families Zimbabwe; shelter boxes for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti and polio immunization in Nigeria. This year will be (raising money for) educating one child for a year in Haiti.”

As the request of Harrison, grade six student Emily Boudreau read a passage from Gifts With Vision, 2013-2014: A Giving Catalogue from the United Church of Canada. Following the 2010 earthquake that afflicted Haiti, the Methodist Church began rebuilding 100 schools. While their school restoration projects are going well, many Haitian families are finding it difficult to pay school uniform costs and school fees, two things that are required in order to send their children to school.

According to Harrison, $45 will cover the cost of educating a child for one month in Haiti: $20.00 for the school uniform and $25.00 for school fees, a recurring cost.

Grade six students Chloe Fagan and Jenna Gower distributed containers to students in hopes that their parents would help fill them with such coins as nickels, dimes and quarters. This marked the beginning of the Nickels for Knowledge campaign.

“Remember, that every nickel you give will help educate children in Haiti,” stated Harrison. “You are all the most important people on Universal Day of the Child.”








Organizations: United Nations, Taliban, Universal Rights United Church of Canada Methodist Church

Geographic location: Haiti, RIVER HEBERT, Pakistan Swat Valley Northern Pakistan New York Africa Zimbabwe Nigeria

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