As Grade 5 Exhibition gets underway, the speaker series continues with informative and inspirational presentations by local charity organizations. Melanie C., the young woman in the Founders’ Theater last week, was no exception as she confidently and passionately described her charity organization. She is from The Kuthor Foundation, a local charity whose mission is to make a difference for the Kuthor School, an orphanage school of about 80 children in a remote village in the Qing Hai district near the border of China and Tibet. What sets this particular guest speaker apart from the others is that she is a current Grade 12 student at WAB.
Melanie C. is the student leader of the Kuthor School Foundation this year, a Foundation that was started at WAB one year ago by students as a result of one WAB family's visit to the Kuthor School in 2008. Continuing on from the Grade 12 Legacy Project last year, WAB students are continuing to support this orphanage school and village through fundraisers, such as the scarf drive and clothing drive, and by raising awareness. Melanie shared with Grade 5 information about life for the orphans in this small village, including showing photographs of facilities before and after WAB-funded renovations and images of some of the children. The Grade 5 students were very shocked to learn that the infant mortality rate in the village is 1 out of every 3 children, one of the highest rates in the world. Our students also found out that these Kuthor schoolchildren lacked such basic needs as beds, running water, electricity, and warm clothes, devastating realities in a region where the average temperature is -5°C to -8°C. The 80 orphans at the school range in age from 5 to 15 years old, so spanning the age of Melanie’s Grade 5 audience.Kuthor School children sleeping on floor before WAB supportNew Kuthor School children's beds purchased with WAB funds
Melanie also explained the structure of the Kuthor Foundation and how the participating students take part in everything from fundraising to communications. Thus far the students have held bake sales, t-shirt sales, greeting card sales, open-mic nights, candy gram sales, benefit concerts, and a scarf-knitting project. Melanie also addressed the many questions that the Grade 5 students have been asking of all of the visiting organizations:
- How does the Kuthor Foundation impacts environment?“We are finding eco-friendly ways to help the village and the school.”
- How does the Kuthor Foundation impact society?“We help dozens of children and even more locals!”
- How does the Kuthor Foundation affect the economy?“We hope to have the school and village spend as little money as possible by reducing spoiled food and the need for extra trips into town)
- How does the Kuthor Foundation affect well-being and health?“We have spoken to organizations and doctors about bringing antibiotics etc. to the village, while at the same time, teaching people in the village basic first-aid so that infections and illnesses can be treated quickly and easily.”
Melanie concluded her presentation by encouraging the Grade 5 students to get involved in causes that mean something to them. “Once you learn a lot about one particular cause, then you can go out and make others aware,” she told them. She gave one final plug for her own cause, inviting the students to get involved with the Kuthor Foundation if they wanted to. “Talk to your classmates and teachers about ways to raise money.” She also left the class with her email number and the open invitation to “email any of your ideas and questions.”
As the Grade 5 students filtered out of the auditorium, sincerely thanking Melanie as they passed, I could only wonder which one of them would be back in 7 years time presenting their own charitable organization’s work to 2019’s Grade 5 exhibition class.
With thanks to materials from the slide presentation by Melanie C. and the Exhibition blog by Sue Ballard, WAB Grade 5 Teacher.