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Furnishing Classrooms Overseas

Written on June 2nd, 2015

CCS Students
Sarah Schinkel, Grade three teacher at Community Christian School (CCS) in Metcalfe, wants to give kids the opportunity to serve and give to those in need.

“It’s important for children to realize they have gifts and talents that can be used to help others,” she said.

After raising $300 through World Vision to provide a school in Africa with new classroom furniture and a water filter, that’s become clear to students in Schinkel’s multigrade bible class—many of whom are now “itching to do more.”

Students were inspired to fundraise after a representative from an organization called A Cup for Africa (CAF), spoke to the school during a chapel assembly. 

A Cup for Africa exists to help African widows, orphans, and families in Uganda obtain the basic necessities of life, spiritual nurturing, and educational training to foster self sufficiency.

The guest speaker who kept Schinkel’s students so engaged had just returned from a two-week mission trip, where she had the chance to visit one of the schools that the organization supports. Her presentation also included an invitation to the class to show love to those who were less fortunate.

“The students literally came running back into the classroom ready to make a difference,” said Schinkel. 

A weekend of thinking and brainstorming followed. The class decided they wanted to do extra chores around the house and donate any allowance they got to helping children in need. 

To help them think in more specific and concrete terms, Schinkel directed her students to the World Vision catalogue—a resource that allowed them to see the different ways they could show love and care to children all over the world.

While exploring the catalog, students discovered they could furnish an entire classroom with blackboards, desks and chairs for $200. For a Canadian classroom eager to help out kids overseas, this was the perfect gift.

Enthusiasm was high, and  members of the class were ready to put their abilities and resources to good use. They had a mission in mind and a teacher who wanted to see them move forward.

“The project from the beginning was entirely their idea,” she said. “My job as the ‘teacher’ was just to encourage them and provide support.”

During the next three weeks, the children worked hard to earn as many nickels, dimes, and quarters as they could. Jobs ranged from doing the dishes, to taking out the trash, to feeding pets.

Carter, a student in grade 1, said he earned money by “doing jobs like mopping and helping around the house, stuff like that.” 

He added that helping out in the garden was the task he enjoyed most.

Asked what the fundraising project was all about, Jane, a student in grade 3, had a simple answer to offer. “To help other people,” she said.

Through these ordinary acts of service the class exceeded their goal, earning a nice $300 sum. They put the extra $100 they earned towards the work that World Vision is doing around clean water initiatives.

“It was amazing to see how enthusiastic all of the students were about the project and excited they got as they realized they could make a difference,” noted Schinkel. “Sometimes it’s hard for kids when they feel like they don’t have much to give … but throughout the project they were able to see that even though they’re young they can still make a big difference in someone’s life.”