© Allan Shook

Students put heart into collective effort

Nine students who travelled from Kenya to study tourism management at Camosun College raised $2,500 for MSF. Canada, 2021. © Allan Shook

Judith Hunt Instructor Camosun College

At the end of August, 2021, a group of nine young refugees travelled from Kenya to Victoria, British Columbia to participate in a pilot project being run in collabora- tion with World University Services Can- ada. They would study Tourism Manage- ment at Camosun College for 10 weeks before moving to Tofino to work.

Shortly after starting their program, the students read about Terry Fox’s cross-Can- ada run for cancer research, then discussed as a class: “If you were to do a fundraiser, how would you do it, and who would you do it for?”

The question lit a spark.

“It all started with a simple class discussion, and then it became an idea. Then we came up with the conclusion that we can make a difference in the lives of so many, so we decided to do a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders [Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)],” says Fatuma Mumin, a student in the program.

“There were many different organizations on the table we could choose from, but we decided to raise funds for MSF for sev- eral reasons. First, MSF is familiar to many people, and second, it provides and deliv- ers medical aid all over the world without paying attention where people come from or their skin colour,” says student Inno- cent Gahota.

The students decided to raise money by selling small bags of candy for $2. They created flyers and posters, visited classes to do presentations, and held a two-day fundraiser during which they shared infor- mation about MSF and took donations.

At the end of the fundraiser, thanks to gen- erous supporters and a contribution from the Camosun College Student Society, the students had raised $2,500. Many of them said they felt a great sense of accomplish- ment in being able to do this after a short time in Canada.

“My takeaway from the fundraising is that if you really put your heart into something and take action, you can achieve it. If you get up today and want to make a difference in someone’s life, you could really do it,” says Mumin.