Halifax school sends donations to West Africa with help from the RCN
By Lt(N) Linda Coleman,
As HMC Ships Kingston and Summerside began preparations for their deployment to West Africa, word spread that the ships were offering to transport donations to African schools in need. Donations poured in from all over Halifax, including École Beaubassin, a local elementary school in Bedford. One of the teachers was particularly passionate about donating because her husband is the Operations Officer in HMCS Summerside, Lt(N) Guillaume Desjardins.
“When my wife, Janie, heard we were collecting donations for some French speaking African countries, she thought this would be a great opportunity to get her school involved, French school to French school,” said Lt(N) Desjardins.
The school found math, science, and French books from its collection to donate. The school also used their Facebook page to reach out to their community as a donation drive, which proved to be a success. Parents and students added to the donation pile, with students even donating some of their favourite reading books. In the end, École Beaubassin ended up donating over 2000 French books for Kingston and Summerside to transport to West Africa.
On February 22, 2018, the Ship’s Companies delivered the items, along with toys, blankets, toiletries, first aid supplies and clothes to Diaraf Falla Paye, a French school in Dakar, Senegal.
“We don’t often have this opportunity to give donations by hand and see the direct impact it has to those receiving it. This is great, you know exactly where your donations are going. It’s also great to make relationships and hopefully we’ll be back next year,” added Lt(N) Desjardins.
The members spent the whole day at the school, conducting repairs to desks, doors, plumbing, and removing large stones from the yard, making it a safer environment for the kids to play in. During the visit, the sailors also couldn’t help but take the time to interact with the very curious children who adored playing with the sailors.
“It made me feel special to see how the kids interact, it’s so different from home. It was nice to help them and feel like we’re making a difference,” said LS Alexy Thibault who played and sang with some young girls in the school yard.
Kingston and Summerside are currently deployed on Op PROJECTION West Africa, engaging with local communities and contributing to regional stability and security.