Mental Health Week- May 6-12

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"We thought if we could help some people get an education, that can inspire others to help others as well."

That was Garden Valley Colligate student Simran Sidhu, who along with staff and other students made various items and foods to aid students in Kigali, Rwanda, sending their fundraising to Love And Hands.

Sidhu heard about the program when Student Services Lydia Giesbrecht was speaking to Human Ecology and Family Studies teacher Jenna Nussey, about her trip to Rwanda.

Giesbrecht says she travelled to Kigali this October, teaching English to Women who had been assessed to need additional skills to become self-sufficient.

"Then I was introduced to Erica, the Love And Hands Coordinator and Founder, who was in that classroom that afternoon because she teaches kids English... When I worked with these kids and tried to teach them just colours, and they could hardly print, my heart was broken."

Erica began Love And Hands when she noticed children outside during school hours, starting a reading program when she learned the children couldn't read.

Giesbrecht adds the donations needed to help send these kids to school is hopefully only be short-term, through Assess Based Community Development, training the mothers so they can provide the schooling funds in the future.

After hearing about Kigali, Sidhu wanted the class to help out where it could.

Nussey showed a video to the class, which sparked the fire, Becky Scheling was very enthusiastic, during the planning saying they would raise $1,500. Nussey says she hosted a craft sale a while back raising around $300 and believed the goal of $1,500 was unattainable. The group raised over $1,644.

Thanks to the donations raised by the students and the other fundraising by Giesbrecht, 54 students in Rwanda can go to school.

Being able to give others an opportunity has been a great feeling for the students, with Sidhu saying they would love to be a part of more fundraisers in the future.

Giesbrecht adds Erica wanted to let people know these donations go a long way, and for the students in Rwanda, the impact is real, as they can now have an education.

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