Students from Western Tech put themselves in the shoes of Kenyan children.
Close to 200 made an eight-kilometre journey along Bloor Street W. from Runnymede Road to Yonge Street to see first-hand the distances some of their African peers must travel each day to fetch life-sustaining water for their families.
The May 10 walk was the finale in the school’s efforts to raise money for a new piping system in an all-girls school in Kenya.
“It’s a great way to show us the struggles that some kids go through for their water, considering that they’re holding huge jugs of water and carrying them back and forth,” said grade 11 student Kyle Terrell. “By doing this, we get to understand more and raise money so they don’t have to go through those hardships as often.”
Organizer and world studies teacher Debra Andrews said she was pleased with the event’s success.
“We raised $4,500 … and [had] 180 students and 10 staff participating,” said Andrews. “It was great.”
Students and teachers marched and chanted all the way to Yonge and Bloor where they presented members of Free the Children with a cheque.
“Western Tech has been really passionate in supporting our clean water campaign in Kenya, which focuses on providing children [with] basic needs,” said Free the Children’s Michelle Sammut.
While Andrews has been taking her grade 12 world issues classes on a similar walk for the last two years, this was the first year that four other classes participated. For next year she hopes to expand the event to the entire school, in part to replace a previous fundraiser that has run its course.
“For the last three years we did the polar bear dip where students ran to the freezing Lake Ontario but it was starting to wear itself out,” said Andrews. “Kids had been there, done that, so we thought we’d try this.”
Western Tech has a long history of fundraising for worthy causes. Aside from the new water system in Kenya, the school raised $4,000 for cancer research this year.
Grade 11 student Kevin Bui says supporting these causes is a great way to educate students like him about important global issues.
“We try to do a lot of charity work,” he said. “I feel like by doing them it teaches students that it’s not all about us.”
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