Following up our wonderful Blanket Distribution Project and Clothing Drive last year, we have deepened our relationship with the impoverished community of Ras el Soda, located in our hometown on Alexandria, Egypt.
During last year's collaboration, we learned that many kids in this neighborhood are not able to attend school because their parents cannot afford to purchase them the school supplies or school uniforms they need. When our students heard this, they decided they wanted to help. We decided to make and distribute "back-to-school kits," complete with backpack, notebooks, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.
Before we could do that though, we needed to jump to acton to raise the funds needed to purchase the supplies. In order to make this a true learning experience, students first studied the issue, learning why education is such important opportunity to improve a family's socio-economic condition.
Students then made public awareness posters to help spread the word about what they were trying to accomplish. As they raised money, we used fundraising charts to show their progress and get them excited to fulfill their commitment.
We then purchased the supplies wholesale (getting the best value for our money) and then brought everything to Schutz. Our students then ran an assembly line, filling over 200 of these kits with all the necessary supplies.
The final step was to hand-deliver the back-to-school kits to the families in need. We took the 6 students with the best posters to the community and were able to visit about ten families to deliver the backpacks. The rest of the backpacks have been delivered with the help of our local partner, the wonderful non-profit we worked with last year. Parents were informed that by accepting this kit, they were committing to send their kids to school. Our students were able to explain what we were doing to the Ras es Soda kids, which provided a cool dynamic.
As the video report shows, our students were able to put their compassion into action and make a profound difference in the lives of 230 of these kids, who would not be in school if our students had not raised the funds and taken the time to make this project a reality. In addition, they learned just how much they have to be thankful for and were rewarded with the satisfaction of improving the lives of those in need. The experience was tied to classroom activities and we also allowed the students to provide their feedback in school as we celebrated their success. This is what service learning should aim to achieve!
Be sure to watch our video report below.