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Torrens Primary action team: first mission complete

Last year, Ms Kowalski, a teacher at Torrens Primary School in the ACT, gave a presentation to her students about Australia`s closest neighbours. “I mentioned that Timor-Leste was the fourth hungriest nation in the world, and over half of the population was illiterate and living under the poverty line,” she says.

These three statistics inspired her Year 3 class to make a difference to the lives of children in Timor-Leste, and the Torrens Primary Action Team was formed. Comprising of over 30 students and Ms Kowalski, the Action Team decided to host a Stall Day to fundraise for a ChildFund Timor-Leste project that aims to increase birth registrations of children aged 0 – 5 years in the Liquica and Bobonaro Districts.

According to the UN, the births of nearly 230 million children under the age of five worldwide have never been officially recorded. Birth registration is an official government process and imparts many rights upon children, including access to basic health and education services.

After 10 weeks of planning, the Action Team was ready for their Stall Day.

Students organised a variety of booths, including a second-hand book stall and a toy car racetrack kiosk. The entire school of 400 students attended, and parents helped out and visited on the day. Some students also raised extra money by holding lemonade and cupcake stalls outside their homes, and by placing donation boxes at their parents` workplaces.

In total, an amazing $1,301.25 was raised, enabling the Torrens Primary Action Team to help over 850 children in Timor-Leste to be registered. Many students at the school said that it was “the best idea ever”. Parents were also very pleased, with several saying that it allowed their children to use their strengths and skills in another way, and made them aware of the world around them, not just their immediate area.

Ms Kowalski is incredibly happy with the efforts of her students and the fantastic outcome of their hard work. With the Action Team`s first fundraising accomplishment now complete, the students have already met to discuss their next set of ideas to make the world a better place. “Can`t stop them now!” says Ms Kowalski.

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