Every year, students at Notre Dame School raise money for humanitarian projects in developing countries.
"Because we're a Catholic school, it's really important for us to promote stewardship among our students," said teacher Lindsay Charabin.
This year, students have been raising funds for a classroom construction project in Tanzania.
The project is being led by the organization Plan Canada and includes the construction and furnishing of four classrooms, as well as management training and educating the community on the importance of education, particularly for girls, who often don't complete school.
Although Notre Dame students are often able to research and learn about the countries they're raising funds for, they'll have an even greater opportunity to witness the impact of their contribution, as Charabin will be travelling to Tanzania in January.
Charabin said she always wanted to go to Africa and decided it was the destination of choice for her honeymoon.
Leaving Dec. 28 and returning Jan. 15, Charabin and her husband have many plans for their trip, including a safari, and they'll also be stopping to visit Dar es Salam, where the project is taking place, to meet the students there.
Charabin had considered volunteering, but Plan Canada doesn't accept volunteers, as they try to complete projects with local tradespeople and supplies, so as not to damage the local economy.
Nonetheless, Charabin's students are excited to hear about her adventures when she returns.
Grade 7 students Reece Steacy and Ellyssa Nielsen were involved in the fundraising effort from the beginning, setting up a booth during parent-teacher interviews.
"When people walked in the school, we told them about the project and asked if they wanted to donate," said Reece.
Other fundraising initiatives included a used book sale and reading program. Typically, students participating in the Accelerated Reader program earn points by reading books, which could then be redeemed for prizes. But between Nov. 1 and Dec. 10, each point earned 10 cents, with the Accelerated Reader Committee matching the total amount raised.
Reece and Ellyssa said they learned a great deal through fundraising and school projects relating to Tanzania.
"I'm more thankful, because you don't realize how much you have until you compare it to other people," said Ellyssa.
Reece added, "I learned that it's really important to have an education because if you want to go anywhere in life, you need to be educated."
Charabin said the fundraising efforts were important because they created a discussion about the importance of helping, not just in your own community, but in the greater world community. She also said it was uplifting to see how everyone came together in the effort.
"The students, teachers and all the staff have worked so hard for this," she said.
A tax-deductible donation can be made to the project at my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?SID=2823780&Lang=en-CA