No fur­ni­ture, no prob­lem

Laval stu­dents take unique ap­proach to rais­ing funds for Ugan­dan school

The Compass - - NEWS - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­

A whole bunch of Laval High School stu­dents re­cently re­fused to sit at their desks for class, and they to­tally got away with it.

That’s be­cause it was all part of a noble ef­fort to sup­port a school in Uganda. As part of a 30-hour chal­lenge, the stu­dents ceased us­ing all fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing beds at night. Money raised through pledges would go to­wards pur­chas­ing fur­ni­ture for a new school in Uganda.

“Our stu­dents here at Laval most def­i­nitely seem to un­der­stand why they were do­ing it — it’s kind of like they were walk­ing in some­one else’s shoes,” ex­plained Marie Wood­ford, a so­cial stud­ies teacher at the Pla­cen­tia school. “It’s very nor­mal for stu­dents in Uganda not to have desks or have to be seated on the floor while they’re in school or even at home.”

The school’s TAG group (Tak­ing Ac­tion Glob­ally) spear­headed the pro­ject. Teach­er­spon­sor Ali­son Power-Wil­son, who started the group seven years ago, said this year has been a spe­cial one given the fact TAG con­cen­trated pre­dom­i­nantly on one cause.

“Our stu­dents have re­ally re­sponded to the needs of the school in Uganda and they have worked re­ally hard to raise money to help the stu­dents in Jinja. I think ev­ery­one in­volved can see a larger goal and have united to sup­port that goal.”

She’s also grate­ful the school was able to bring Wood­ford on board with the group. Now clue­ing up her first year teach­ing at the school, Wood­ford was in Uganda for two weeks in the spring of 2015 to de­liver dresses made from pil­low­cases and school sup­plies to an orphanage. Stu­dents in Cres­cent Col­le­giate’s Al­lied Youth group made the dresses.

Wood­ford is part of the group Jorja’s Jour­neys, which was founded by a young girl from Goulds, Jorja Hinks. Its goal is to em­power youth.

The 30-hour chal­lenge started at lunch on Fri­day, May 27. The group of 30-odd stu­dents ei­ther stood or sat on the floor to eat, and even a few teach­ers got in­volved. Af­ter lunch, stu­dents set up on the floor to learn.

As of last week, the group had raised $1,300 through the chal­lenge, with ad­di­tional money still com­ing in. Wood­ford said the school in Uganda has two class­rooms. The TAG group in­tends to pur­chase desks, chairs and a book­shelf.

“The stu­dents def­i­nitely demon­strated their em­pa­thy and kind­ness and com­pas­sion,” said Wood­ford, who will re­turn to Uganda this Au­gust. “They didn’t use fur­ni­ture for 30 hours and didn’t even re­ally com­plain about it … It was re­ally nice and en­cour­ag­ing to see the stu­dents just whole­heart­edly be into this pro­ject.”


Laval stu­dents Michael Gib­bons, left, and Jar­rod Bohlke work away on the floor as part of the TAG group’s 3-hour fundrais­ing chal­lenge to pur­chase fur­ni­ture for a school in Uganda.

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