Canadian Students Help African Children and Local Cats

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Photo: Dark Botxy

Motivated by the theme of “empowerment” in their social studies class, students at St. Paul’s intermediate school knew they could make a difference in the lives of children and animals alike.

Seventh grade students in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada have so far raised $1,000 to be split between the SPCA in their hometown and the Orkeeswa Secondary School in Tanzania, Africa.  Armed with inspiration and the encouragement of their teacher, Lana MacLellan, the kids enthusiastically created a recycling program last September.

“A friend of mine started a school in Tanzania a few years ago so through connections we thought it would be a great place to donate,” said MacLellan.  The donation for the school will be facilitated through the Be the Change Project, begun in 2007.  The mission of the project is to help provide the highest quality education and healthcare services to the students at Orkeeswa Secondary School.  In Tanzania, less than 7% of children have the opportunity to complete secondary school. “The school in Tanzania needed school supplies. We were told that it takes .50 cents to feed a child for a day, so by sending $500, we’re feeding a thousand kids,” said student, Kiera MacFadgen.

Bonnie Harris of the SPCA said she is grateful for the students’ efforts in helping the cat overpopulation problem in the community.  “It’s not an animal problem, it’s a human problem. We have been trying to battle it out with the town council to do something. It’s frustrating,” said Harris.

Jacob Cole, one of the students,  said, “Hopefully they can renovate and make it bigger so they have more room for the animals because there isn’t much room so hopefully they can build an extension.”  Harris believes the issue is bigger than building a bigger facility — the root of the problem is people not taking the responsibility to spay and neuter their cats.  “People are getting them and not having them spayed or neutered. They’re ending up here in the shelter where there’s just not enough homes to place them all in. We have 25 cats in here now,” said Harris.  She knows the kids’ donation will help the shelter.

These students knew they could affect change outside their four walls and weren’t afraid to step up and do something.  Whether it’s helping contribute to the health and education of children halfway around the world, or providing extra funding to expand the spay/neuter program or facilities to benefit local felines, these Canadian students are making a difference.

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