▲ More information about the program can be found at littlebighelp2010.blogspot.com and schools wishing to participate in Bring a Pencil to School Day are encouraged to contact Lindsey via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After witnessing the widespread poverty affecting children while traveling in India in 2008 and 2009, New York native Lindsey Lynch decided she wanted to help. She was inspired to set up LittleBigHelp, a project designed to raise school supply funds for the children of the Kerala, India-based Our Home orphanage (ourhome charity.org), after being told a story by a volunteer who was asked to teach an art class to 300 kids with no chalk.
“When I first heard that story, I’d just come to Korea and was sitting in a classroom with an abundance of educational supplies, and I’d find things like half-used pencils on the floor,” she said. The abundance of materials in comparison to Our Home’s lack of school supplies prompted Lynch to create the charity.
“I thought it would be wonderful if I could do a project to raise money for the school,” Lynch added, saying she called the project LittleBigHelp “because every little bit can help a lot.”
To involve local students in the project, schools are being encouraged to take part in an island-wide Bring a Pencil to School Day, which will be held in the week following Chuseok, (Sept. 27 to Oct .1) with all pencils donated sent to the elementary school at Our Home.
Over the Christmas holidays, Lindsey will travel with a handful of other teachers to spend a week at the orphanage purchasing school supplies and volunteering their services.
In addition to donations, Lynch hopes to use the project as an opportunity to encourage cultural literacy, “to teach children here about what it’s like to go to school in an underprivileged area as an underprivileged child, and to let these children [in Jeju] know that they can help.”
As a native English teacher on the island, she encourages a classroom dialogue in her English classes covering simple and thought-provoking questions concerning adequate school supplies and educational resources for the classroom, including the subject of having enough food on the table.
As part of the cultural side of the fund raising project, LittleBigHelp will host an evening of multi-national song, poetry and dance on Sept. 11, to raise support for the children of Our Home school and orphanage. The concert will feature local Jeju bands Lobster (featured in Harper's Bazaar magazine,) Socialism (a Korean ska band,) Hanaloreum (Traditional Korean drumming,) and Dialya (a Senegalese band.) Slam poets Josh Fisher, Jack Quinn, and Wilkine Brutus will also be featured.
The concert, Under the Bridge, will be held at Seogwipo City Harbor, from 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. A suggested donation of 7,000 won can be presented at the show and donors will be entered for prizes from Jeju Cakes by Christine, Miryu Namu Café, and Maybe Café. All proceeds will go directly toward buying school supplies and basic necessities for the children at Our Home.
While the donation of school supplies are appreciated, Lynch stresses that monetary donations are preferred, as they can be used to buy materials directly in India, which can then be more easily transported to the school. As she points out, “I can’t take everything in my backpack!”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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