HHSS makes a difference in the lives of Kenyan students
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | May 19, 2015
A week's worth of fundraising has paid off for a group of Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (HHSS) students who are helping two Kenyan girls keep their dreams alive.
At the end of last week, the school's Interact Club announced it had raised over $5,000 for Education is Power (EIP), an organization that provides support to young East Africans looking to attend secondary or post-secondary school. For their efforts, a private supporter of EIP has agreed to match each donation 3:1, boosting the grand total to more than $20,000.
"This is almost a record total compared to other years of our global fundraiser," wrote Jennifer Paton, staff advisor for the Interact Club, in an email. "The only year that was greater was the year that half of our proceeds went to the Minden Flood Relief Fund."
On May 13, students took to the airwaves as part of Rotary Radio Day on Canoe FM. From 7 a.m. to 6 pm. they teamed up with members of the Haliburton and Minden Rotary clubs to raise $3,100.
Other initiatives at the school included a bake sale, buyout, and the pie-ing of students and staff. A few private donations were also received.
"The work of our school community this week [May 11-15] will have a huge effect on the lives of students in Kenya and Tanzania," said Paton. "The HHSS students were already passionate supporters of the work that Education is Power is doing, but the matching grant was an extra motivation to raise as much money as possible. They are already talking about what else they can do over the summer."
Erica Carmount, vice president of the Interact Club, said it's great knowing that what the club raised will make a real impact in the lives of these students.
"This year has been really good because you get to see where the money is going, you get to see the kids you're impacting and the education they get out of it," she said.
Three years ago, students raised enough money to send two girls, Narupu and Nantana, from Kenya to high school. However, a year later, the school lost contact with the person who was receiving the funds on the girls' behalf.
"We were really worried that the girls had lost their educational opportunity," said Paton in an interview.
They were soon in put in touch with Dave Cuddy, director and co-founder of EIP.
"We gave him the names of the girls, he went to that region, he found their families and he got them back in school," she said.
In return, the Interact Club raised $3,000 for the registered Canadian charity. Paton said it was the single largest donation the group had ever received.
The students, who range from Grades 9-12, chose to support the same charity once again this year.
"We've probably got about 15 regular members, but probably 40-50 kids have been part of our activities over the course of the year," said Paton.
The funds will also support Freshiah, a student heading to university.
This past Monday, Cuddy flew in from B.C. to speak to the students at the school.
Paton thanked everyone for their support including students, staff, Rotarians and Canoe FM's listeners.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.