Seva Canada Board Member, Susan Erdmann, writes:
Prior to my leaving for Nepal in March, I gave my presentation on the Tibetan surgical eye camps to a class of 11 year olds (5th graders) at Mitchell Elementary in Richmond, BC. It was wonderful how well they responded to the visuals and story around eye camps and what it is like to lose sight from cataracts. The students asked lots of questions and were very engaged. When I left, I gave them each a Seva Gift of Sight catalogue and told them that everyone can make a difference and help restore sight.
I left quite pleased that they had responded so well. But what surprised and thrilled me far more was an email from the teacher, Miss Anita Lau, on my return from Nepal, telling me that the children had some money to give to Seva and asking me to return to the school to receive it. On Friday May 22nd, I returned to Mitchell Elementary and in front of the entire school, students from the class presented me with a cheque for $361.83.
How did they do it? They told me that, having decided to raise some money for Seva and under the teacher’s guidance, they brainstormed what they wanted to do and how they would do it. With their Seva brochures, they visited each classroom and told the other students about Seva and that what they were going to do raise some money to give people their sight back. They were going to hold a bake sale. They made posters to advertise, baked the goodies themselves and held the sale. They sold out and raised enough money to help restore the sight of 7 people.
But much more happened than being able to give Seva some money for the sight programs. These children learned many life lessons about what individuals can collectively achieve – how to work as a group for a common and worthwhile cause, the payoff of working towards a goal through personal effort, the satisfaction of giving to a wonderful cause and helping others in need, and the sheer joy of giving. They were so proud of themselves – as they should be.
The teacher, Miss Lau empowered and guided these young students, allowing them to discover for themselves what might be possible. I applaud Miss Lau and her students for a job well done. These students will have this experience for the rest of their lives, growing up with an expanded view of the world and how they can effect positive change in it.
A huge thank you from Seva!