How a lit­tle ser­vice can go a long way

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

The stu­dents of Matamata Chris­tian School’s room three now have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how a lit­tle ser­vice can make a big dif­fer­ence.

As part of a child poverty and slav­ery study ear­lier in the year, room three teacher Michele Lee en­cour­aged the stu­dents to think of an or­gan­i­sa­tion to sup­port.

The stu­dents then cre­ated small busi­nesses that they could man­age to sup­port that or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Lee said although the class was ex­cited about the pro­ject, choos­ing just one or­gan­i­sa­tion was dif­fi­cult.

‘‘There are chil­dren in the class with ties to or­gan­i­sa­tions and they felt quite pas­sion­ate about those causes. I ex­plained that if we pool the money to­gether, rather than a lit­tle bit here and there, we could make more of a dif­fer­ence.

‘‘I knew if I made them sup­port one thing, they wouldn’t be as pas­sion­ate about it, so it had to come from them,’’ she said.

The class chose to give to Peo­ple Aid, sup­port­ing fam­i­lies in In­dia. Their pro­ject would fund a rick­shaw, which would sup­ply an income, self suf­fi­ciency and dig­nity for one fam­ily.

In In­dia, rick­shaws are a ma­jor mode of taxi trans­porta­tion for peo­ple tak­ing short jour­neys. If a fam­ily has to hire a rick­shaw for em­ploy­ment, they lose some of the income to the owner and it can­not be used for per­sonal use. If they own it they can take the profit and also rent it out.

The class needed to raise $750 to fund one rick­shaw.

In groups, the stu­dents devel- oped small busi­nesses, a busi­ness plan and a bud­get. They ran their busi­nesses at a mini fair held at the school, which in­cluded a car wash, sausage siz­zle and sell­ing home bak­ing and over 100 hand made cards, which made $780.

‘‘The kids worked hard to make a real dif­fer­ence,’’ said Lee. ‘‘The girls got to­gether a few week­ends be­fore to make the cards and the day be­fore for the bak­ing, it was re­ally spe­cial.’’

Lee said last week room three were in­formed the rick­shaw had been as­signed to a fam­ily, which was very emo­tional and ex­cit­ing for the class.

‘‘They were re­ally ex­cited to see that their hard work ac­tu­ally paid off. Some of the girls were very teary. They have seen a photo of real peo­ple, with their chil­dren, stand­ing next to their rick­shaw, it’s be­come real to them, they have re­ally made a dif­fer­ence, which is cool.’’

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