Reaching out to Kenyan school
Carbonear Collegiate group connects with Kenyan school
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.
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.
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.