Tuesday, May 05, 2009


This is long overdue, but I'm trying to catch up.

While I was home last year, I saw a news item on the CBC that was outstanding.

It was about the origins of CHES, the Canadian Harambee Education Society.

Back in the 1970s, a young teacher left BC to go to Africa and teach at a girls school. The village was impoverished, and many students could barely afford to go to school.

After a few months, one girl came to the Director and confessed that her family could no longer afford the small tuition. The teacher was distraught, saying that this must be prevented, as the girl was the best student in the school. The Director replied, "well, then you pay for her.".

And so she did.

Years later, CHES is dedicated to funding many such girls, giving them an opportunity against a backdrop that is quite daunting.

In the news piece, the same girl, now a nurse, was re-united with her former teacher. It was a special moment. The African woman often talks to the young girls, acting as a stellar role model for their dreams. (As an aside, she jokes that they think she is a doctor, because anyone involved with medicine is elevated to that status.)

My sister and bro-in-law often give me Christmas gifts that are charitable donations (e.g. solar panels for a village in Africa, or a goat for a needy family). I was happy to reciprocate this Christmas with a similar gift to CHES.

ps. Harambee is Swahili for "pull together".

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