A group of L.V. Rogers students is holding a dinner and dancing fundraiser for a village in Kenya next week, and it is the result of a lot of thought about what kinds of global aid are effective.
The event will happen May 22 at 6 p.m. in the LVR courtyard.
“We are going to fix it up nice and fancy,” says Grade 12 student Galen Boulanger, one of the organizers. “It will be a five-course tapas style meal with world cultural dishes that some students in Global Perspectives are going to prepare.”
He said some of the chefs will be international exchange students.
“We are hosting this as a fundraiser for Free the Children,” says Grade 11 student Hannah Sachs. “They support sustainability in any country you want, and we have chosen a village in Kenya.”
The students are in the Global Perspectives class, and this is part of their course work.
Dinner and dancing
“We are going to have performers such as Tibo Kolmel and myself,” said Boulanger, “so it will be like a music dinner with some information about Kenya and then we are going to clear the tables and get people dancing.”
Boulanger, a trumpet player and singer, is known around Nelson as the leader of the jazz band Swing Theory.
“Tibo is an award-winning cello player,” says Boulanger. “He won the Ian Smith award at the Kootenay Festival of the Arts last year.”
The band All Canadian Back Bacon will also perform.
Aid to the world: how to decide?
How does a high school class decide what charity to contribute to, when there is so much controversy about what kinds of aid are effective?
“It took us a long time to figure this out,” said Sachs. “Then we went with Free the Children because it seems like a good organization. The money goes to sustainability. This was a big issue for us.”
She said some organizations go in and try to help but don’t follow up, and sometimes the projects are inappropriate. She said Free the Children is into its projects for the long term.
“We looked into Free the Children,” Sachs says, “and we have been in contact with them. They do really good stuff and they don’t leave the village until they know the project can be sustained.”
Their funding for the village in Kenya will go toward education.
Balancing global and local
The Global Perspectives class typically does an international project and a local one each year, and the projects and issues are chosen by the students.
“It is connecting students through issues they are interested in, for them to make connections locally and globally. So every year the course can change direction depending on the group,” says teacher Tamara Martin.
The group has had a garden at the school for several years, and this year they decided to start feeding it with compost.
“We have installed compost bins beside almost every garbage in the school,” says Sachs, “so we go around twice every week and collect all the compost.”
Individuals in the class have followed other interests as part of the course as well. Some have joined one of two new mentoring groups at the school in which older students mentor younger ones. Others got involved with Nelson CARES’ Coldest Night of the Year event, and some are helping international students at the school.
A unique experience for a teacher
Martin says Global Perspectives is a rewarding teaching experience for her.
“Who would not want to work with a group of keen individuals that want to affect change?
“What I like,” she says, “is the fact that students are really realizing that they can have an impact locally, and that it is important to deal with issues in our area. That is why they jumped on board with Coldest Night of the Year.
“It is exciting to see how they come together. It’s a bonding experience, and they are learning how to organize, lead, work together, and follow up on what they do. And every year it is a bit different.”
Admission for the Kenya fundraiser is $20 for students, $25 for adults, and $75 for a family of four. Tickets are available at Otter books and the LVR office. Only 100 tickets will be sold.