Connection provides opportunity to make a real difference, says teacher
London District Christian Secondary School (LDCSS), a member of the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS), has formed a long-term partnership with a school in Kenya.
Sud Academy, based in Nairobi, has about 250-300 students, most of them refugees from southern Sudan.
The school was started in 2002 by the Sudanese community with the goal of educating and preparing refugee youth to become leaders and help in the rebuilding of war-torn southern Sudan.
LDCSS learned about Sud Academy through a connection with a London-based organization, Canadian Sudanese Volunteers for Development (CSVD). There is a significant population of Sudanese refugees living in London.
The Ontario school provides financial support to Sud Academy. A monthly collection is taken in each of the LDCSS home-rooms, with students encouraged to find creative ways of raising funds for the Kenya school.
Proceeds from two performances by the senior drama class this week will be donated to Sud Academy. The LDCSS marketing class also donates the proceeds from a semester-end project to the school.
Students from the two schools have also connected through letter-writing.
LDCSS student leaders sometimes present to their fellow students about the Kenya school. As well a number of speakers, including one who is a brother to a student at Sud Academy, have visited the London school to talk about what’s happening at Sud and how the partnership is making a difference.
“I think the students really feel connected to (Sud Academy) on a personal level because of all the updates they get on a regular basis; they get to see how their (contributions) are making a difference,” says Christine Boer, an LDCSS teacher who is heading up this project.
Several LDCSS students have suggested that a team from Ontario visit the Africa school in person. Discussions are underway about making this a reality.
“It’s exciting to see that it was the students, not the teachers, suggesting that we make this trip,” says Boer.
While some Canadian families may be facing some financial concerns of their own at this point, Boer points out that supporting those in need is still an important value to pass on to the next generation.
“We’re called to be servants and we want to instill that value in our students, no matter what kind of financial crisis we may be having in Canada,” she says.
Several other Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) member schools have also helped CSVD raise funds for Sud Academy. They include Ottawa Christian School, Timothy Christian School in Owen Sound, and Cambridge Christian School.
To learn more about Sud Academy, visit www.sudacademy.org.