By Grace Ribeiro
Students from the Timberline and Carihi International Co-op class recently returned from their work placement trip to Nepal.
A group of 23 secondary students and chaperones spent their spring break experiencing the culture and adventures the small country had to offer. The class worked with InnovativeCommunities.org Foundation on the Irrigation Initiative, and managed to raise enough money to fund 1.5 kilometres of the irrigation canal.
This effort helped to aid hundreds of farming families in the remote village of Lawachowk that could not have funded this project on its own.
The class also raised money to buy 175 backpacks and fill them with school supplies to give to students in small communities surrounding the village. They also provided a scholarship of 50,000 rupees to a primary school to go towards tuition, supplies and uniforms for students that would otherwise not be able to attend school.
Over the course of the 18-day journey, students gained perspective on what it is like to live in a developing country and how fortunate we are to live in a country that provides us with such amazing opportunities such as health care, schooling, safe food and water – and beautiful homes.
After returning to Canada, one of the Grade 11 girls observed, “My perspective of what it takes to be happy changed enormously. Before, I was happy because of material things, and the people of Nepal were happy and loving, and willing to give back themselves, even though they had almost nothing. I feel as if every person on Earth should try to achieve happiness like that in their lives.”
The lessons learned about culture, survival and what lives are like in different parts of the world were something that could never have been taught in a classroom.
Another Grade 11 student remarked, “The trip gave me so many memories and lessons, it isn’t possible to be the same person again.”
The Nepal experience is one that will never leave our heads or our hearts. Students and chaperones found great reward in working with locals on the project they have helped to fund.
As one student put it, donating to the irrigation initiative was, “so much more meaningful now that we have experienced where our money is going.
The people who are benefitting for the project are not just numbers on a screen anymore, they have become our friends. I could not be happier to know that this is where and who my money is going to.”
Thank you to all those who donated towards the project such as Monks Office Supplies, Action Sports, United Church, Grandmothers to Grandmothers Group, D’Arcy Franklin, Beyond Beautiful Smiles, Campbell River Soccer Association, Carihi and Timberline Secondary, Ocean Grove Elementary, Cedar Elementary, and Pinecrest Elementary schools.
A thankyou also goes out to Skills for Life program at Robron Centre, School District 72, and all of the individuals who privately donated to this project. We wouldn’t have been able to make the experience as amazing without all of you!
Grace Ribeiro, 15, is Grade 10 student at Timberline Secondary