There is little that can dissuade a resolute fifth grader from achieving a goal. On May 17th, twenty four determined 10 year olds at Grattan School in San Francisco built a bridge to a small village in Kenya by running and walking in the pouring rain for Asante Africa Foundation. Working with Asante Africa, the students raised $2,500 through a walk-a-thon in order to provide learning materials such as desks for their sisters and brothers in Kenya and Tanzania.
During the walk-a-thon, the students circumnavigated the city block around their school collecting a felt pen mark for every lap completed. The greatest achievement was an amazing 52 laps or the equivalent of 13 miles by one boy!
The smiles on the children’s faces proved they were 100% committed to the project. Having Sabore Ole Oyie, our Maasai friend from Kenya, participate made the experience more meaningful. As the Grattan students made their way around the course, they shared stories with Sabore Ole learning about the work he does in Africa and how their efforts here in America are helping to provide students elsewhere in the world with the opportunity to learn in a healthy, safe environment.
Regardless of the inclement weather, all the students, teachers, and Asante Africa leaders persevered as they were determined to make as much money as possible to help buy desks for the students in Africa. Eventually, the weather became too severe and the students were given “rain points” as they moved inside.
The event culminated with cookies and Asante Africa calendars. As the students were reflecting on their experience, Mrs. Shea and Ms. Thurston asked each of them to articulate their thoughts and motivations for helping their friends on the other side of the ocean. Mrs. Shea was proud of the leadership role taken by her fifth graders and noted that “education is important all over the world. [Our students] thought beyond themselves to make something good for another community, and, in doing so, I believe they validated their own education too.”
Asante Africa Foundation is grateful and inspired by what a small group of determined youth can do with open minds, strong legs and giving hearts.