Ottawa Christian School (OCS) is resuming a three-year tradition of selling hotdogs every Friday until the end of February to raise money for the Sud Academy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Sud Academy is an African school established in 2002 by the Sudanese community that has 300 students, most of whom are refugees from southern Sudan. Based in London, Ont., the Sud Academy Advisory Committee (SAAC) has been operating under the registered charity of the Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan (CASS) since 2004, raising funds for the school operating costs.
The Sud Academy’s website raises awareness of the young refugees’ desperate circumstances.
“(The children) have escaped to Kenya from the war-torn land of southern Sudan, where many have witnessed family, relatives and neighbours being killed by government militiamen; watched their livestock being stolen; watched their villages and homes being burnt to the ground. These youth have escaped to the refugee camps in northern Kenya. Some made the journey with their families; some made it on their own,” says the site.
“Because they are foreigners, the refugees are not qualified to attend Kenyan schools, and they are unable to secure employment,” the site adds.
Grace Sontrop, vice principal and teacher of Grades 2 and 3 at OCS, wanted to support the Sud Academy by providing them with funds to feed the students.
She connected the idea of buying lunch with the charity of providing lunches for others so that her students could connect their actions with the good they were doing.
“That works really well for them, so one hotdog costs $2, and $1 goes towards our student’s hotdog, and the other $1 goes toward Sud Academy,” says Sontrop.
She says she encourages her students to recognize when they are being blessed, and how to share those blessings to help others.
The OCS originally began fundraising about five years ago for a new building, that they have recently moved into, which she used as inspiration for the students.
“We thought we were really being blessed because now we’ve just moved into this brand new building, and it’s gorgeous. So, how can we bless somebody else as well?” she suggested to her students.
They were also shown a video about the Sud Academy and the refugees in a chapel to gain support for the fundraiser.
“The next day the orders started to come in, so it really spoke to them,” says Sontrop.
The 192 students at OCS raise $1,000 each year, and Sontrop hopes to raise $1,000 again this year.