Building a new school for $20 a brick

A group of 12 Chilliwack schools have joined forces to raise funds to build a school in Kenya.

Mt Slesse middle school is raising $10

Mt Slesse middle school is raising $10

Jayden Sprangers is no stranger to hard work.

The fourteen-year-old has been working on his family’s farm, doing odd jobs, practically since birth. But this spring, he’ll be challenged with a job like no other.

Jayden, along with a team of 18 others from Mt. Slesse middle school, is going to build a school in Kenya.

While admittedly the extent of Jayden’s actual building experience is nothing more than a wobbly pillow fort, he can’t wait to get his hands dirty.

“I’ve always wanted to help people out in some way,” said the Grade 9 student. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I hope it will give me more leadership skills and show me more about what the world is like outside of North America.”

The Kenyan school project is part of Me to We.

Me to We is an organization, founded by Canadian brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, that works to empower change, helping people make a direct, positive social and or environmental impact on the world. Me to We is under the umbrella of Free The Children that hosts the annual We Day event in Vancouver.

At this year’s We Day, local schools were challenged to support the organization’s goal of building 200 schools in developing communities around the world by the end of 2014.

Each school built, large enough for 55 students, costs $10,000; $20 per brick.

For some schools, that financial commitment proved too daunting. So, for Chilliwack, rather then work solo, 13 schools combined forces to build one school in Kenya.

“Some of the schools in our district, like Greendale, are smaller and it would have been impossible for them to have raised the $10,000 on their own,” said Mt. Slesse leadership teacher Sandi Rae.

But together, Rae had no doubt they’d achieve their goal.

So far, the collective has raised $7,645 – just $2,355 shy of their goal.

Since October, the schools have held several fundraisers including a Christmas child-minding day camp; a movie day at Cottonwood Mall; bake sales; ice cream sales; dances; and more.

Likely the most impressive was the anti-bullying day T-shirts fundraiser.

Two students, one at Mt. Slesse middle and the other at Promontory elementary, came up with designs for pink shirts that were sold at $10 a piece.

The fundraiser amassed a whopping $3,200.

“Our community [of schools] is going to be helping a whole community,” said Rae. “The importance we’re going to have is long lasting.”

For Grade 9 student Maegan Emmons, the initiative has completely changed her perspective.

“We complain about having to go to school, but these girls [in Kenya] can’t,” said Emmons. “I feel so bad because these people should have a right to education, but they don’t. It makes you thankful for the things we have.”

The build a school campaign isn’t a hand-out, it’s a hand-up.

Free the Children focuses on education as the highest return of social investment. However, it doesn’t just build a school, it works with the countries to create programming and initiatives to ensure education is maintained over the longterm.

The organization also improves access to clean water, sanitation, and health care. It provides families with the resources to generate a sustainable source of income that includes training, support and workshops. It educates communities on food security through innovative farming techniques suitable to each community.

“It’s like giving them a stepping stool so they can climb up and keep getting better and better,” said Emmons.

“And maybe one day, when they’re in a better position, they’ll be able to help others too,” added Grade 9 student Emma Boutilier. “Like a chain reaction.”

The collective is continuing toward its goal and hopes to have the $10,000 raised by June.

The next fundraiser is a skating party by donation at Prospera Centre on March 27 from 4 to 5:30 p.m..

DRIVE 4 UR SCHOOL:

The team going to Kenya is holding a Drive 4 UR School fundraiser on Saturday, March 8 in the parking lot at Mt. Slesse middle school from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The event is sponsored by Ford Motor Company and includes a test drive of a vehicle – for free. For every test drive completed, Ford donates $20 to the school to a maximum of $6,000.

All proceeds will go towards the cost of the 11-day trip, which is over $5,000 per student including vaccinations, medications, and tour costs.

The team is going to Maasai Mara, Kenya from March 15-25.

It will be the first Chilliwack school to travel to the country.

For more information, contact Mt. Slesse middle school at 604-824-7481.

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Most Read