Showing compassion for people in distress in Africa, a Stettler social studies class has been lauded for its generous support of fellow youths.
The Grade 10 students from William E. Hay Composite High School sent a $2,458.20 cheque to the Friends of the Congo to conclude a three-month project that they say “touched” both the fundraising students and the recipients.
“This group of 25 15-and 16-year-olds has taken the initiative to make a difference in our world,” said teacher Myranda Shepherd, who led the students in a journey that began during project week in mid-March.
“They have shattered the stereotype that so many people in society have of youth today.”
The class focused on active citizenship and helping others in difficult social lifestyles and living conditions.
After Shepherd researched the organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, her class spent weeks communicating with the group and organizing fundraising and awareness projects.
The students were in contact with Kambale Musavuli, a social activist from the DRC now living in New York City, to learn more about the challenges and opportunities related to globalization.
On the first day of project week, students participated in a mini-conference called the DRC convention.
They decided any funds raised would go toward buying technology for youths in the Congo and also for power generators for communities in the Congo.
“They felt that these items would create longterm, meaningful and sustainable change for the people at the ground level,” Shepherd said.
Musavuli was thankful for the financial support of the local students.
“He said that he would go out immediately and tell the students that he works with in the DRC what our students at William. E. Hay in Stettler, Alta., had done for them,” Shepherd said.
Musavuli recently appeared in Martin Scorsese’s new film, “Surviving Progress,” which the Stettler students viewed this month.
“It was inspiring and empowering for the class to know that an expert, a famous person, took the time to give them information and specific feedback about activism,” Shepherd said.
“An expert, a famous person, was proud of them.”
He encouraged the Stettler students to become involved in social-activism projects.
“You have the power to change the world,” he said. “I believe you will change Canada.”
“Use your talents, use what you are passionate about, to spread the word of the Congo and get the word out.”
With that inspiration, the Stettler students raised funds locally, with support from local businesses and the community.
Campaigns included custom-designed Congo bracelets, donation boxes throughout Stettler, social media networking, “busking” at the Art Walk, an information display at a local store, and an effort to have students turn off their cellphones for five minutes.