On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, our Geography class welcomed some guests from the WE movement to talk to us about the work happening in the WE villages to improve access to safe water and education around the world.
Seraphine and Alice are from Kenya and grew up near the Maasai Mara.They are currently studying Tourism and Nursing at the WE College in the rural Kenyan community. They told us about their journey to get an education.
They explained that girls like them are often not given a chance to go to school as they have responsibilities like gathering wood, fetching water and caring for their siblings. They told us about how hard it was to get access to water, especially during the 2011 drought. They talked about how they often felt ill with waterborne infections and how being a student at WE College has changed their lives and how they want to give back to their family and the community where they came from.
They are so excited to be in Canada and noted that the traffic is so well organized and that the food is highly processed. They also expressed some frustration when they talked about how few people recognize what a privilege it is live in a place like Toronto, where we take water and education for granted.
Marc, a Canadian who works with WE organization, also shared his story about biking from China to Canada to raise funds for WE villages. This passion and action were an inspiration. He told us about the 35.000km he biked raising over $50.000 for education access around the world.
On Friday, May 10, 2019, when our students participate in ‘WE Walk for Water’, I will be thinking of our guests and the difference that safe water made in their everyday lives. I hope by meeting Seraphine and Alice our students were able to see the faces of at least two people who have been given access to clean water and understand the difference a small donation can make – only $25 gives one person access to water for life.
Both Seraphine and Alice offered the students wonderful advice on living a life of peace, setting high standards, striving for success, and being committed to overcome the challenges we all face in life.
I was so proud to listen to the questions of our students and see them interact with our guests. Their curiosity, empathy, attention to respectful listening was evident and in our debrief I heard some of the ideas they took away.
I believe that our youth will be change makers in a global world and it is lessons like today that show them that being the change in the world is achievable and it starts with small steps that align with the issues they care deeply about.
Sarah Miles, Vice Principal