Enterprising students aid Kenyan women


You’re never too young to make a difference — and that’s what a group of students at Holy Name Catholic Elementary School did.

Seven Grade 8 students and two Grade 7 students were inspired by their teacher Amanda Boyer last year to fundraise for a good cause.

The Welland students partnered with the not-for-profit organization Me to We and Free the Children to sell Rafiki bracelets for $10 each. (Rafiki is a Swahili word which means friend.) The jewelry is made by a group of women in Kenya for the organization and $5 of each sale goes to the women. The other $5 goes to support Free the Children initiatives, including providing education or clean water to communities in need around the world.

The students planned to raise about $1,000 during their month-long campaign, but ended up raising more than $3,000.

Vice-principal Jeff Moccia said the students worked alone on the project, but the school supported them.

“We are proud to see how well they’ve done and how excited they are about it,” Moccia said.

Grade 8 student Ben Santone, 13, said the group went class to class to encourage fellow students to purchase bracelets. He said a great deal of the sales were from family members of students who wanted to support the cause.

“It wasn’t buying a bracelet, it was giving the money to make sustainable businesses and the resources they needed,” Ben said about the impact the bracelets will have.

Hunter Brown, 13, said he and fellow students in the fundraising group were inspired to make the world a better place. Being at a Catholic school, he said they are taught to care about others. When his teacher told them about the Rafiki bracelets he felt it was a great way to care about the world around him.

Lauren Cameron, 13, said she was inspired to participate because it supports girl power and helps to alleviate poverty.

Through volunteer work and raising money the students earned tickets to WeDay. The event is free, but youths must give back to the world around them in order to qualify for tickets to attend. The event hosts celebrities and public figures who speak about the importance of making a difference and giving back.

The three students said it was a great experience and they learned so much from the event. Ben said he also learned a lot about the world by being part of the fundraising.

Hunter said he would like to continue selling the bracelets in the future. Santone and Cameron agreed it was something they could do when they are in high school next school year.

“When you work as a group and distribute the weight evenly it makes the work a bit easier. And then at the end of the day you feel good about what you’re doing,” Hunter said.

The group is selling more bracelets next week at the school on Fitch Street. The students’ goal is to sell 75 in a week.

Source and Credits: http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2017/02/23/enterprising-students-aid-kenyan-women Friday, February 24 2017 by Michelle Allenberg
Photo Credits: Holy Name Elementary School Grade 8 students, from left, Lauren Cameron, Hunter Brown and Ben Santone talk about their fundraiser selling Rafiki bracelets and raising more than $3,000 for Me to We and Save the Children. Michelle Allenberg/Welland Tribune