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A Class Project Worthy of High Marks

Afghanistan, June 11, 2002

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    Third-graders at Alameda Elementary School raised $730.06 for Mercy Corps' programs in Afghanistan. Photo: Robert Kellett/Mercy Corps Photo:

This is one class assignment that the students in Mr. McElroy's third-grade class at Alameda Elementary School in Portland, Oregon would not mind repeating.

After presenting Mercy Corps with a check for $730.06, which they raised for its programs in Afghanistan, the students had a message for their teacher: "We want to do something like this again next year," they exclaimed.

The money was raised as part of a class assignment designed to expand the students’ awareness of other cultures and the challenges facing children living in poor countries. The students took turns gathering and presenting information about developing countries around the world and, in turn, the class voted to help children living in Afghanistan.

"I learned that Afghanistan is probably one of the top five poorest countries in the world and that a lot of kids there are hungry and sick," said one of the students, Noah.

The students then went in small groups to other classes throughout the school to share their knowledge about Afghanistan and to ask their schoolmates to donate their coins and small bills in exchange for small toys and gifts.

"There are lots of people starving in Afghanistan and we wanted to help," explained Julian, who along with Noah helped to develop the fundraising idea for the class. "The other kids listened to us and they liked it so they gave us their money."

"I learned that it is good to help other people. The people in Afghanistan don’t have much. We have a good country and we can help a lot," another student, Maya, said with a smile.

The students' enthusiasm and desire to learn impressed Mercy Corps' Marta Colburn who made a presentation to the class about Afghanistan last month and was on hand to receive its donation.

"They asked really good questions and were excited to learn that they could help kids their own age in Afghanistan. The fact that they were able to raise so much money is truly amazing and we are quite grateful to Richard McElroy and all of the students at Alameda," she said.