Reach­ing out to Kenyan school

Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate group con­nects with Kenyan school

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON We­blink: http://pa-moja.com edi­tor@CB­N­com­pass.ca

Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate’s new PA-MOJA group is the first of its kind in New­found­land and Labrador. It has es­tab­lished a cul­tural ex­change with a boys’ sec­ondary school in Kenya and will help raise funds to sup­port devel­op­ment in the coun­try and pro­tect wildlife.

At the start of a five-minute YouTube video, a group of nicely dressed school­boys of­fer greet­ings to a com­mu­nity that’s ap­prox­i­mately 12,000 kilo­me­tres away.

“Hi Car­bon­ear,” the stu­dents from the Thome (pro­nounced ‘toe-may’) Boys Sec­ondary School in Nanyuki, Kenya, shout in uni­son be­fore cheer­ing as a group and rais­ing their arms.

The shout out is for a group of stu­dents at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate that re­cently formed a PA-MOJA club. It’s part of a move­ment to pro­mote a cul­tural ex­change be­tween schools in Kenya and North Amer­ica. Through the PAMOJA club, Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate will be­come the sec­ond sis­ter school of Thome. The other sis­ter school is GAMP Aca­demic Mu­sic School in Philadel­phia.

Level II stu­dent Emma Haraga first be­came aware of the PAMOJA move­ment while her fam­ily was living in Lan­g­ley, Bri­tish Columbia. At the time, it was known as the Project Kenya Sis­ter Schools.

“We were never ac­tu­ally a part of that group, but I wit­nessed it from the out­side,” Emma told The Compass.

PA-MOJA aims to pro­mote a cul­tural ex­change by get­ting schools to share videos and sto­ries with each other. Funds are raised to help schools and com­mu­ni­ties based on the needs lo­cal lead­ers from Kenya out­line to PAMOJA. The group re­frains from us­ing vol­un­teers to help with labour, in­stead pre­fer­ring to cover the wages for Kenyan work­ers to sup­port the lo­cal econ­omy. It also sup­ports the Ol Pe­jeta Wildlife Con­ser­vancy in Kenya.

Emma and her sis­ter Natasha moved to Car­bon­ear two years ago. Look­ing to get a PA-MOJA group up and run­ning in Car­bon­ear, Emma con­tacted the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pres­i­dent to learn more about what would need to hap­pen. Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate’s PAMOJA club is now the first one in New­found­land and Labrador.

“A lot of other or­ga­ni­za­tions, it’s more like a cur­rency ex­change,” said fel­low Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate stu­dent Bray­don Haynes.

“Yes, you raise money for a good cause, but we ac­tu­ally have a con­nec­tion with them. They sent us videos of them danc­ing and singing, and stuff they do in the day and ac­tiv­i­ties they par­take in. And we’ll send them back videos and let­ters, and they get to ac­tu­ally know our cul­ture and we get to know their cul­ture, which makes it more in­ter­est­ing.”

Sup­port from the school has been strong early on ac­cord­ing to Emma, who cred­its prin­ci­pal Daniel Grimes and other staff for the help they’ve of­fered. Her sis­ter Natasha is also on board.

“It will not only make a big dif­fer­ence to us, but to them as well,” said Natasha.

As for fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, PA-MOJA is cur­rently pri­or­i­tiz­ing the con­struc­tion of dor­mi­to­ries for young girls and the pur­chase of uni­forms, books and pens to en­able chil­dren to at­tend school.

A re­cent bake sale at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate raised $420, and stu­dents are set to take part in a tech­nol­ogy famine May 23-24, dur­ing which they’ll go 30 hours with­out cell phones and com­put­ers. Over 50 stu­dents are ex­pected to col­lect pledges for that event.

STILL IM­AGE FROM VIDEO

Mor­gan Kimuthia from Thome Boys Sec­ondary School in Kenya ad­dresses a video cam­era along­side stu­dents in an im­age taken from a YouTube video made es­pe­cially for its two sis­ter schools — GAMP Aca­demic Mu­sic School in Philadel­phia and Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COMPASS

Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate’s PA-MOJA group is the first of its kind in New­found­land and Labrador. Pic­tured are a few of the young folks help­ing out: (from the left) Cody Sel­lars (ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber at large), Bray­don Haynes, Emma Haraga (pres­i­dent), Natasha Haraga (vice-pres­i­dent), Kelsey Tuck (mem­ber at large) and Dy­lan Hoben.

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