Kids Reaching Out To The World To Help

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TRENTON – Nicola Toomath is the creator of "Students for Africa", a non-profit, children's group which raises money and donated items for children in rural Tanzania, Africa.

Toomath and her students have successfully retained the funds for a nursery-school teacher for the Meserani village. They have also worked out an agreement to sponsor a young woman from the village, who's a high school graduate, to go to teachers college on the promise that she will return and teach in the village for at least five years.

Toomath's team have also promised the village that if they can save enough to build a roof on the well, the "Students for Africa" team will purchase solar panels to light the well at night.

Toomath is a grade school teacher from V.P Carswell in Trenton, Ont.

Toomath explained that she was teaching grade two about five years earlier when she had the idea to create a pen pal program with kids from another culture.

"Part of the grade two social studies curriculum was to learn about communities in other parts of the world, and so through a friend of a friend of a friend I connected with some kids in rural Tanzania."

She explained that in the beginning it was just about learning and interacting with a foreign society, but she says that changed.

"We just started writing letters back and forth and it wasn’t about any kind humanitarian cause it was just about writing letters and getting to know people from another culture."

Toomath explained that as they started learning more and more about the kids they were writing to, it became apparent that they had humanitarian needs.

"One of my students just wanted to send her a pencil case, she just wanted to do something," explained Toomath. "So I started a little club that would raise some money and we would ask them what they need and raise some money for that."

Since that time Toomath has moved schools twice, each time collecting kids who connect with this cause.

Two summers ago Toomath and her husband made a trip to the village in Tanzania, courtesy of a donor who thought it best if Toomath visited the people she was helping.

"I went not last summer, but the summer before, out to the village, sat down with people and just asked them. I had my notebook and just asked them: what are your challenges and how can we help?"

The villagers told Toomath that water and education were the two big areas of concern.

Toomath is planning another trip to the village this summer.

For anyone looking to help support this cause Toomath and her team are looking for new or gently used sports wear. This includes shoes that can be worn without socks. They are also looking for teen sets of uniforms that can be used for soccer.

"I would like to take over with me when I go next, suitcases full of footwear for the kids and something they can wear as soccer uniforms."

If you have donations use the contact information on their website to get in touch.



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