From my experience, most eleven year olds have a deep vein of empathy and the ability to imagine another person’s story. The flooding in Pakistan has moved all of us. But, as with our search for a peaceful world, we feel weak in the face of such an insurmountable catastrophe.
The good news is this: just because you can’t do a big thing, doesn’t mean you can’t do a little thing.
We took some time to learn about Pakistan as few students had any background knowledge. We saw a beautiful video of the mountains and valleys of the country and realized how much like British Columbia it is.
We used atlases, books, websites, newspaper articles, and talked to our parents to learn more, and then we shared our learning. We discovered that most of our parents knew very little about Pakistan, but were as curious as we were.
We saw coverage of the flood. With 10 000 schools and 200 hospitals damaged or destroyed, and with the loss of the next few growing seasons we know that people are and will be suffering. We realized people’s basic needs for clean water, food, shelter, and medical care are not being met.
We used Wallwisher, an online note board to gather all of our ideas. This helped us narrow down our choices.
We Skyped with Asim Fayaz, a 22 year old entrepreneur and recent university graduate in Lahore, Pakistan. He gave us an account of how the floods have affected people throughout the country. Although our Skype connection was very shaky, he helped us to understand how serious and far reaching the flood’s effects have been. Asim seemed glad that we were paying attention to what was happening in his country and that we were willing to help.
We decided on a family movie night at our school as a way to have fun, share a bit of our learning, and to raise money toward a family survival pack, through DisasterAid Canada. This seems to be “something appropriate”, and something good we can DO. And because the Government of Canada is matching funds, we can effectively double our donation.
We were generously supported by local businesses, Quality Foods, Java Junction, and Aegis Realty, as well as the Parent Advisory Council. Energetic parents Tracy, Kim, and Rebecca did the heavy lifting and made the popcorn.
Everyone worked very hard to make the event a success. Popcorn bags were filled, cookies were baked, and juice and coffee were served. Over 120 parents and children attended with blankets and pillows and lawn chairs. Everyone seemed to have a good time (despite some audio problems). I was very proud of the heart-felt presentation made by students before the movie began.
I had told the students going in that we might raise $200.00. They were thrilled to announce at the end of the night that we had raised $989.80! A donation of a few dollars extra put us over the top–$1000.00! We are grateful to our school community for their generosity; we know the money will be put to good use. Greyson wrote about the evening here.
All of this reminds me of a commercial about volunteerism and kindness from when I was growing up–do any adults remember it?
Do some good for the people
Who need your help.
Be a buddy
To a neighbour.
Make a sad face smile
It feels so good to say, “I did good.”