Ox­ford stu­dent plan­ning Kenya re­lief visit

Paige Black plans to visit this sum­mer as part of a vol­un­teer team

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW WAGSTAFF

OX­FORD - Paige Black plans to visit Kenya this sum­mer as part of a vol­un­teer team, but will rely on her com­mu­nity to help get her there.

The Ox­ford Grade 12 stu­dent is rais­ing funds for the mis­sion, which would see her spend three weeks in the African coun­try this sum­mer as part of a group from a B.C. col­lege.

In or­der to go, she must raise $5,000, and that ef­fort be­gan in earnest on Jan. 12, with an evening of mu­sic at the school cafe­te­ria.

“I hope to gain even more per­spec­tive,” said Paige, 17. “I have done a lot of re­search, so I have some per­spec­tive on what it’s like, but I don’t think you can re­ally un­der­stand un­til you’ve been there and you’ve seen it.”

The stu­dent said her mother has al­ways kept her aware of poverty in the world, and that she has al­ways known how for­tu­nate she is. Her fam­ily has al­ways spon­sored a child in need, but Paige wanted to get in­volved di­rectly.

“Here we do things for the food bank, and there is that level of poverty where things need to be done, but it’s at such an­other level there,” she said. “I think that’s what needs to be taken care of first, and I want this to be an on­go­ing thing. I hope to go to Kenya this sum­mer and re­turn to Africa many more times.”

She at­tended the Move Your World peace con­fer­ence in Prince Ed­ward Is­land in the fall of 2009, and also at­tended In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs Week at En­coun­ters Canada in Ot­tawa last sum­mer, all the while keep­ing her eye out for her op­por­tu­nity to make a dif­fer­ence. Dur­ing the sum­mer she came across a photo on Face­book of a friend who had gone to Kenya.

“I con­tacted her and asked her who she had gone with,” re­called Paige. “She said she had gone with her col­lege, so I thought well, there goes that, but she put me in con­tact with her pro­fes­sor and he was will­ing to take me on with their group.”

The group from Lester B. Pearson in Bri­tish Columbia vis­its Kenya through an af­fil­i­a­tion with the KULE Foun­da­tion, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides con­tin­u­ous long-term sus­tain­able lo­cal projects in Kenya while pro­vid­ing stu­dents with the op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress key global is­sues such as health, ed­u­ca­tion and poverty erad­i­ca­tion.

Past projects for the group have in­cluded work­ing with or­phan­ages, pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion on rais­ing poul­try, build­ing a li­brary and class­rooms for chil­dren liv­ing in slums.

Paige is not sure about the plans for the group’s three-week visit this year. She has to fo­cus on get­ting there first. She has to raise $5,000 by the end of April, and $400 by the end of Jan­uary. A con­cert, ti­tled “Kenya get me there?” mu­si­cal evening will be held at a later date at the school cafe­te­ria.

The con­cert will fea­ture acts such as Fre­sia and the Off­spring, The Bed­room Ses­sion, Dean Dormeidy, The You-Turns and Paige her­self. More fund-rais­ing events are to come in the months ahead.

AN­DREW WAGSTAFF  THE CIT­I­ZEN

Ox­ford Re­gional Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre Grade 12 stu­dent Paige Black is rais­ing funds to go on a vol­un­teer mis­sion to Kenya later this year.

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