It was several months ago in a bustling 7th grade classroom on Long Island, NY, a group of curious students embarked on an extraordinary journey of kindness and generosity. Their inspiring adventure began during Black History month when their teacher, Ms. Hinkson, introduced them to a remarkable young boy named Jonah and his inspiring project called Jonah’s Hands.
They learned that Jonah is a gifted crochet artist and a young philanthropist, dedicated to doing good in the world. One of his favorite projects is in Ethiopia, where he was born. He is working with Roots Ethiopia on their school improvement work. Jonah is improving a grade school and a high school in a village where he would likely have grown up, in Teza Gerba village.
Jonah’s determination to help improve education in rural Ethiopia captured the class’s attention. The students decided to take action and support Jonah’s special projectwith a donation of pencils to students in Ethiopia. It was perfect timing since their school was collecting pencils in a classroom competition and they were so excited to select a destination so far away, and to students just like them in so many ways.
Pencils, the most essential tool for learning, empower students and help every student pursue their dreams. One student in Ms. Hinkson’s class said, “some students don’t have everything we have here…They should have the chance to experience the happiness of a new pencil.”
Week after week the students collected pencils and the pile of pencils grew larger and larger. The classroom became a buzzing hub of excitement and anticipation as the students meticulously counted and organized the pencils ensuring that each one would find its way to Ethiopia. They collected over 1,500 pencils for Teza Gerba students!
Just 2 months later travelers from the Board of Roots Ethiopia, USA, set off for Ethiopia, with 15 lbs of pencils in tow. That’s a whole lot of pencils!
With smiles and excitement, the students at Teza Gerba School received the pencils. They were thrilled to know their education is being supported by kindhearted students across the world. Every child wrote with extra enthusiasm that day at Teza Gerba School.
A big thank you to Ms. Hinkson’s 7th graders at Longwood Junior High School. Their kindness made students smile in Ethiopia. Longwood students have exemplified the power of compassion, empathy, and global citizenship.
It is powerful to see children whose actions create change in the world. Kids rock, and we are so excited to know this experience helps students continue to engage in conversations and actions that make a positive difference in the world.
Children of the world understand the transformative power of education, not only for themselves but for children in faraway places like Teza Gerba School in Ethiopia.
Written by Meghan Walsh, BoD Chair.