A local teacher has won a trip to Africa to do humanitarian work this summer—her second such trip in a year.
Alberni District Secondary School social justice teacher Kama Money is going to Kigali, Rwanda from Aug. 2–11.
Money, who possesses an MA, entered the aptly called Smart Girl contest on Facebook in last spring and was sent a congratulatory note last Thursday.
“I let out a yelp in class when I read the note and my students thought something was wrong,” she said.
The former B.C. educator of the year winner will be participating in humanitarian work with a women’s rights focus, including helping build a girl’s school and participating in classes with students.
She’ll also be going on a gorilla trek in a nature reserve, as well as visiting the genocide museum in Rwanda.
“It’s hard working in conditions of extreme poverty—it’s not fun,” Money said. “ But I want to go back—I need to go back.”
“ What is a smartgirl? She is equipped, educated and empowered to fulfill her dreams. She listens carefully, asks questions and confidently shares her voice,” Money wrote.
“She works as an ally to improve the lives of girls around the world. Please help me continue to influence our next generation of smartgirls.”
The initiative is sponsored by Smartwater, which is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola.
Joining Money are two other Canadian contest winners as well as 2010 Olympic silver medallist Jennifer Heil, who donated $25,000 to the Because I am a Girl campaign.
The visit to the genocide museum in Rwanda will have a profound impact on Money, both as a social justice and a high school teacher, she said.
The facility commemorates the more than 800,000 Tutsi people who were killed by Hutu peoples in the 1990s.
“What the UN said would never happen again after (the Second World War) did happen,” Money said.
“It’s important for me to be a witness and do my part not to forget.”
Money won a similar contest sponsored by Red Rose last year.
She and fellow teacher Kym Cyr spent two weeks in Nairobi, Kenya doing humanitarian work.
“That experience really touched my heart and soul,” Money said.
Sometimes Money says she is asked why she doesn’t do humanitarian work in Canada.
“I do ‘do’ that kind of work during the school year,” she said.
Experiencing extreme poverty, advocating for women’s rights, and supporting alternate income projects abroad pays dividends back home.
“It makes me a better educator about those issues when I discuss those issues here in Port Alberni,” Money said.
After her stay in Rwanda, Money is plowing into another project, this time with fellow teacher Donald Montgomery in Nicaragua.
“The model in Nicaragua fits best practice,” Money said.
“It’s charity and dependence versus sustainability and independence.”