McKechnie Elementary Students Lend a Helping Hand to Ghana Primary School

Only a few weeks after tens of thousands of students from across BC joined Mikhail Gorbachev, Shaq and the Kielburgers at We Day in Rogers Place to celebrate global citizenship and engagement, the students of one Vancouver elementary school got a firsthand lesson on how important philanthropy can be to people living on the other side of the world.

On a rainy Friday in late October McKechnie's Humanitarian Club presented to their school on their experience at We Day highlighting their concerns for Africa and their resolve to make a positive difference in the world. They were already off to a great start.

For the past year, inspired by last year's We Day, McKechnie Elementary School's 23 student Humanitarian Club has been busily raising money for Tichele Primary, a small all-girls school in the heart of Northern Ghana. The students in the club range from 10-12 years old. Each one played a critical role in organizing and promoting a number of events including "McKechnie Walk-a-Thon" on May 26, 2011, which raised over $10,000 for the African school.

Their aid was so appreciated by Tichele's students that some travelled around the world to thank the school. Four girls from the primary school were in Canada to thank McKechnie's students for their donations, which helped pay for a water harvesting tank and a new roof for the school.

"All the students at McKechnie were thrilled to meet our visitors from Ghana. The girls spent the entire day at our school and went into each classroom to meet the students and answer questions," said Catherine Jamieson, Principal of McKechnie Elementary. "Having the opportunity to meet the girls first hand helped to make our partnership with Tichele primary real."

The student's principal says the visit was an eye opener for students.

"I think that the girls' visit helped our students to appreciate how fortunate they are to be living in Canada," says Jamieson. "Many of the students were shocked to hear about the struggles that these girls have faced already in their lives, how unfairly young women are treated and how difficult it is for them to change the customs and beliefs about females in their part of the country."

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