Teen service club flexes muscles

Oak Bay High Interact Club members Fiona Aitken

Oak Bay High Interact Club members Fiona Aitken

Students looking to raise money for Rwandan teens

When Logan Graham and some Oak Bay High classmates heard about John Jordan’s efforts to improve the lives of Rwandan grandmothers, they wanted to help, too.

After Jordan, an Oak Bay resident, spoke last year to the school’s Interact Club – a junior offshoot of the Rotary Club – Graham and others thought they’d like to buy a computer for children in Kibogora. The students heard how teens their age went without food and clothing, but were keen to learn about the Internet.

A year later, the club has shifted its focus. Members are now hoping to fund 12 rabbit hutches and 12 pairs of rabbits, to get Kibogora teens started raising the animals to help pay for school fees. It costs $250 a year for students to attend high school there.

To raise funds, club members are offering their services to Oak Bay businesses. Those that need cleaning, yard work, painting, or any other manual labour can have a crew show up any Saturday or Sunday for four-hour shifts.

The group is hoping for a $50 donation for each shift.

“We all felt we should work together to do some common good,” Graham said.

He and fellow Grade 12 Interact member Anika Bell came up with the idea of a group labour effort after working on a bake sale and a bottle drive this winter.

“It seemed like we could make more money if we were working other jobs,” Bell said.

Reached by e-mail in Rwanda, Jordan wrote that he’s been helping women there rebuild roofs on their homes and building rainwater catchment systems.

In addition, he’s helped train young men to build rabbit hutches for grandmothers there who are caring for orphaned grandchildren, often due to war or HIV/AIDS.

“I am very encouraged by the involvement of our Oak Bay students,” Jordan said.

“Their promised help is already an incomparable boost to the orphans here … many of whom won’t be able to move on from junior high to high school without it.”

Any Oak Bay business owner or resident who could use a team of students in March or April can contact Graham at Oakbayinteract2011@gmail.com.