I’ve been meaning to post about the Sleepout 4 Schools event run by the Yr 9 students of Toorak College for the last week, but time keeps running away from me. It’s vitally important that I give it the space it deserves; the students involved worked tirelessly and pulled off a marvellous day to support girl’s education in Kenya and India.
The idea began with a whole day activity where the girls were exposed to ideas about how they could make a difference. They found out about the Bal Ashram in India and their plans to build a girl’s school to help save girl’s from child slavery. They also listened to Mark Lukach when he skyped in from San Francisco and told us about Daraja Academy, a girl’s school in Kenya started by Jason and Jenni Doherty that had just opened its doors two weeks before.
That day sowed the seed and ideas germinated. A meeting of 30 or so interested students saw them decide on the idea to hold a sleepover at school as a fundraiser for the two schools.
After quite a few weeks of planning the event was held on May 22nd. During the day the girls participated in a Global march into Mt.Eliza to raise awareness about the plight of children forced into child slavery. A neighbouring school, Mt.Eliza Secondary College, joined them and lunchtime shoppers and proprietors of our local shopping centre listened to the girls’ message. It was very well received and the girls felt like they had made an impact.
At 6.00pm the sleepover began. As teachers, we’d been given a running sheet from the girls in the organising committee, but we fully expected that we’d have to step in to get things going. We couldn’t have been more wrong. They were supremely organised. All of the girls, all 54 of them, had paid to sleep over. During the night they raised money by selling popcorn and lollies and a group of them made friendship bracelets that they sold. Some of them had sought sponsorship from family members and friends to collect after the event.
At 11.00pm we skyped Mark Lukach in and he talked about the progress of Daraja Academy. He was pretty #stoked (you have to know Mark on Twitter to get that one!) that 54 students had gone to the effort of getting together to do something good for others. Jason Doherty, the founder of Daraja was the next to skype in. This was Jason’s first ever skype call so it was pretty exciting. He was able to give us a lot of detail about Daraja and how the girls there are faring. Jason extended an invitation to our girls to visit the Academy; who knows, maybe one day we will get there. Jabiz Raisdana then skyped in from Qatar to let us know he was impressed with the effort of our students. It helped to let the girls appreciate the global nature of what it is they are doing.
It was after 12 midnight by the time we’d finished our calls so you can imagine it took a bit of time to settle to sleep. We were up and at ‘em by 7.00am the next day. We still have to get a final total of how much money was raised, but it should be close to the $1,000 dollar mark. Last Monday two of our students visited a local radio station and spoke eloquently and passionately about what they’ve been doing.
We are very proud of the efforts of these Yr 9 students. They have a genuine sense of the importance of service unto others, of thinking outside yourself. That’s an important part of being human as far as I’m concerned and school communities can be instrumental in helping our young people to understand this. These students have also gained an understanding of their role as global citizens. They have used technology to connect with the people they want to help; we can’t get to Kenya direct yet but we are hoping to start to write to the girls over there. The girls created a Ning to support the project because they wanted to reach out to others to try and gather support. We didn’t quite manage that, but there’s always next year!
Nice work girls. We’re very proud of you all.