No furniture, no problem
Laval students take unique approach to raising funds for Ugandan school
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.