|© UNICEF New York/2005/Li|
|UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah (centre) receives a check of $18,000 from the students of Kent Place Middle School.|
By Kun Li
SUMMIT, New Jersey, USA, 20 May 2005 - Welcomed by the sounds of an angelic choir, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah arrived today at Kent Place Middle School in Summit New Jersey, to personally receive a precious gift from the students.
To help children affected by last year’s devastating tsunami in South East Asia, the students collected $18,000 through a “Festival of Caring”, where they sold homemade cookies, candy, artwork, and even flip-flops.
“For almost 2 months, we planned, shopped, baked, selected garage sales items, the list was getting longer and longer. Our parents drove us all over New Jersey to post flyers for the big day,” said 8th grader, Meghan Finlayson. The whole of Kent Place Middle school – over 600 students – participated in the festival.
“I think the impact of this event is invaluable, and the students will always remember the experience. Deep down they know what is this for,” said Edel Thomas, a teacher at the school. “They want to have fun while doing it, that’s why they named it ‘festival’. They are children themselves, and they also have deep feeling for other children. It makes most sense for the money to go to UNICEF,” added Ms. Thomas.
Kent Place Middle School has been providing its all-girl student body with private education for over 100 years. “We are really incredibly lucky, and so many people are not as lucky, so we just need to be there and help when a situation like this [tsunami] happens,” said 8th grader Olivia Norrmen-Smith. “I wish shelters, housing, food, vaccinations, and everything that’s needed can be provided. I don’t know how much $18,000 can do, but I really hope it can do a lot,” continued Olivia.
Ms. Salah expressed her deep gratitude. “On behalf of UNICEF and our new Executive Director, Ann Veneman, we thank you. With you, we will bring childhood to the children who are not as fortunate as you, and with you, we will advance humanity!” said Ms. Salah.
The money raised will help UNICEF provide much needed support to rebuild the lives of children affected by the disaster. Through their fundraising efforts, these students have demonstrated that their actions can have a positive impact and that the young tsunami survivors are not forgotten.