KINKORA – Most Canadian parents probably wouldn’t like to see their children in a classroom of any more than 30 students, or thereabouts.
Bonnie Goguen, holds up a nickel, one of many she’s hoping to collect in order to buy school supplies for teachers in Uganda. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
Well, try having 120, or more, per class.
Those are the kind of numbers teacher Melanie Gallant was facing last summer during a working trip to Uganda, in East Africa.
It’s been several months since Gallant returned home and to her work at Somerset Elementary, in Kinkora, but her experiences in Uganda has stuck with her.
So when she was recently approached by a parent of one of her students with a fundraising idea for her Uganda contacts, she was all for the idea.
“I thought tackling such a project was a great idea … it involves not only helping these children, but it’s also creating awareness in our children here in Kinkora,” said Gallant.
Bonnie Goguen, who’s daughter Katy goes to Somerset, is organizing a nickel drive at the school.
“Every nickel counts,” said Goguen.
Their goal is to raise $300 and the use the money to buy school supplies for Gallant’s colleagues in Uganda.
Supplies of pretty much every shape and size are in short supply there, and the teachers really need every bit of help they can get, said Gallant.
“They appreciate anything that can be given to them. Life there is not taken for granted. They appreciate the little things,” she said.
Purolator, in Charlottetown, has come on board with an offer of shipping two large packages for free, and Kinkora Irving will be hosting a donation jar in their store.
Anyone who would like to donate spare change to the initiative can do so at the Irving or Somerset school.
Goguen said she decided to organize the fundraiser after hearing Gallant’s stories from Uganda.
“I just felt like we had to do something,” she said.
“What really got to me was that the teachers don’t have the supplies to teach these kids. And you know we have so much here – my child has drawers full of extra school supplies,” she added.
“School is such a big privilege for them – and my daughter is happy when there’s a storm day.”
Gallant and Goguen hope to have their supplies purchased and on an airplane before the end of May.