For­mer Drumheller stu­dent teach­ing in Roatan

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Res­i­dents from Drumheller have shown ma­te­rial sup­port to the Mor­gan Jayne Project and the Char­mont Acad­emy for more than a decade, and now a well-known face will be teach­ing at the school.

Jaiden Lal com­pleted most of her school­ing in Drumheller, but moved to Aus­tralia for her Grade12 year. She has since grad­u­ated and was given the op­por­tu­nity to teach at the Char­mont Bilin­gual Acad­emy in Roatan. Last week she made the trek and is al­ready train­ing.

Leav­ing from Aus­tralia, trav­el­ling half way around the world sound like a daunt­ing task, Jaiden ap­pears to take it in stride.

“Ac­tu­ally it kind of was a spur of the mo­ment de­ci­sion, a year and a half ago, an op­por­tu­nity like the one Va­lerie (Nel­son of Fa­mil­ias Salud­ables), gave me would have scared the hell out of me,” she tells the Mail. “It took me about a month to de­cide that I was go­ing to ac­cept, I’d al­ways fan­ta­sized about a gap year of travel, but when my dad told me about the op­por­tu­nity it felt like fate- that’s how I viewed mov­ing to Aus­tralia, if an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity came right to me then I can’t turn it down.”

In fact, she cred­its her move to Aus­tralia a cou­ple of years ago for giv­ing her the per­spec­tive she needed to take on such a challenge.

“Mov­ing to Aus­tralia al­lowed me to meet so many amaz­ing peo­ple from so many coun­tries. I now have friends in Ger­many, Brazil, Chile, and of course, some Aussies. But so many of those friends were in­ter­na­tional stu­dents who had come from so far away, and left it all be­hind to have a new ex­pe­ri­ence,” she ex­plains. “That courage that I saw in those peo­ple def­i­nitely gave me the courage to ac­cept the of­fer to vol­un­teer with the Mor­gan Jayne Project. My dad was a huge in­flu­ence too, he’s al­ways put it in my head that travel is of amaz­ing value and he def­i­nitely set an ex­am­ple for me that it’s more im­por­tant to get out of your bub­ble and ex­pe­ri­ence the world than to let fear of change hold you back.”

The Mor­gan Jayne Project ap­pears to have had a pro­found af­fect on her life. Founded by Fred Makowecki in re­mem­brance of his daugh­ter its goal is to curb the spread of AIDs in Roatan.

“The Mor­gan Jayne project is im­por­tant to me be­cause I’m very pas­sion­ate about hu­man rights, and women’s rights. My views have com­pletely shifted in the past year since mov­ing to Aus­tralia and I’m very pas­sion­ate about fem­i­nism, and I be­lieve that the Mor­gan Jayne project is re­ally mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the lives of a lot of women- a lot of young moth­ers, and a lot of young girls, and that’s pro­found to me,” she ex­plains. “I’m also a big be­liever in ed­u­ca­tion be­ing a pow­er­ful tool to change the world, and I feel re­ally lucky to be get­ting this kind of ex­pe­ri­ence at such a young age so that I can spend the rest of my life be­ing aware of how priv­i­leged I re­ally am.”

She will be at the school for 10 months teach­ing Grade 7 and 8. She says she has a pas­sion for read­ing, writ­ing and public speak­ing and looks for­ward to shar­ing that with her stu­dents.

Af­ter that, she might find her­self back in the class­room. “I still have as­pi­ra­tions to study law, but hon­estly I don’t have any ca­reer plans at this mo­ment. The only thing I know is that my work is go­ing to be ded­i­cated to help­ing the peo­ple who can’t help them­selves and de­fend­ing peo­ple who can’t de­fend them­selves. I want my work to have real mean­ing, and I want my priv­i­leges to have been ben­e­fi­cial to more than just me.”

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