School collects 141,000 pennies for education in Pakistan and Afghanistan
Students at Laurentian Hills Christian School in Kitchener have joined an effort to bring hope and educational opportunities to young children, especially girls, in Central Asia.
This past fall students collected 141,000 pennies for the Pennies for Peace campaign, a program of the Central Asia Institute.
The funds are enough to purchase school supplies — pencils, paper and other items — for about 70 students who live in remote villages of Afghanistan and Pakistan for an entire year.
Ian Timmerman, school principal, says it was exciting to see how the Laurentian Hills students responded to the call to action.
“We tried to point out to them how in North American society a penny is pretty much worthless; a lot of people wouldn’t bother to pick it up if they see it on the street.
“But the impact that a penny can have in these rural areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan for education is significant.”
The students were so excited about what they learned; they were digging through the couch cushions and finding pennies all over the place.
In the end, an entire wheelbarrow was filled with pennies, much more than expected.
The funds have been donated to the Central Asia Institute, which has a mission to provide community-based education to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Pennies for Peace campaign lines up with the school’s theme for the year, which is on being a peacemaker.
A number of other activities have taken place, including collecting canned goods for the local food bank at Thanksgiving, to celebrate and emphasize the theme.
Timmerman says that in their discussions about peace, they’re considering the biblical word for peace, which is shalom.
“Shalom talks about peace as much more than just the absence of conflict,” he points out.
“It includes this idea of wholeness and completion and justice and mercy, which is what our school is looking into and building out over the course of the school year.”
School staff members were inspired to focus on the peace theme, and the Pennies for Peace campaign in particular, after reading Three Cups of Tea, an account of a man’s mission to promote peace by building schools in remote parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
To learn more, visit www.penniesforpeace.org.