When Monica Sinyard visited the Grade 2 classes of St. Anthony Elementary, no one could foresee the impact she would make on the young minds.
The classes, Ms. Sinyard said, had learned about different countries in Africa for Education Week and the teachers thought it would be nice for her to share some pictures and a few stories with them, as she had visited Africa.
The presentation was mostly about the different animals, the clothes and the lifestyle, she said.
“I don’t remember emphasizing the poverty of the people because I didn’t think children of that age (Grade 2 students) would understand or be able to relate,” Ms. Sinyard said. “I did show pictures of the children playing at Muringato Primary School where I had volunteered quite often while I was there.”
Goose Cove’s Emma Reardon was fascinated by the presentation.
“She had a picture of little children in a schoolroom and they were all bundled together and had no desks and no school supplies,” Emma recalled. “Most of the children don’t have shoes to wear so when they play outdoors they have to play in the mud and they hurt their feet on the rocks.
“I felt so sorry for them because we don’t have to do that, we have shoes and lots of supplies for school. I thought of ways to help them.”
When Emma returned home from school, she asked her mother if she could have a bake sale to help them, but that would take too long, she said, so she decided to have a bingo instead.
“I called my family - my aunts and cousins - to donate Easter baskets for prizes and then I had a prize bingo at Grandois when I was visiting my nan and pop for Easter,” Emma said. “My mom and nan and my cousin helped me out and Shane Clarke called bingo for us.”
She raised $134 from bingo and presented it to Ms. Sinyard so she could give it to her friend who was returning to Africa.
“I told her to buy food, supplies or shoes for the poor children of Africa,” Emma said. “I felt really, really happy that I could do something to help make some children happy, too. “
Now, Emma is saving recyclables with plans to donate the money for the children of Africa.
Ms. Sinyard said Emma, firstly, recognized the poverty of the children in the picture, and secondly, felt some injustice toward the fact that she has so much when the kids in the pictures didn’t even have shoes on.
“I was completely amazed that a child of her age could have such compassion and a desire to do something for another child whom she has never meat,” Ms. Sinyard said. “I think that is something very special.”
Ms. Sinyard said she keeps in contact with the principal of Muringato Primary School, and knows they are still struggling with the everyday cost of running the school with regards to supplies and their food program, as children are supplied with a small lunch when they attend school - often it is the only meal the children can rely on, on a daily basis.
“I asked Emma what she would like the money to go towards and she simply replied, ‘put it towards something they really need, like maybe food,’” Ms. Sinyard said. “I told her I thought that was a wonderful idea. I just wish she could realize how far the money she donated will go in feeding the children and how much it will mean to them.”
Ms. Sinyard said it’s nice for Emma and her parents to know that all of the money raised will go directly to the school, with no cost taken out for overhead.
“I think Emma’s parents and teachers have very good reason to be proud of her” Ms. Sinyard said. “And I hope we can all learn a lesson of kindness and generosity from this very special seven-year-old girl.”