In a society where our poor could be considered comparatively rich, two young South Surrey brothers are trying to help children who face daily challenges unimaginable in our western world.
Emerson, 10, and Wynston Krahn, 7, have been bagging and selling candy to raise money for Zimbabwe Gecko Society for the past five years.
Their mother, Michelle Krahn, says she doesn’t want her children to take the Canadian advantage for granted. She hopes this exposure will help her children understand the extreme poverty and struggles other children of the world are forced to face.
“It was making it real for my kids. I wanted them to know how fortunate they are, how blessed they are, how rich we really are,” Michelle said Monday as her children prepared the candy.
For the past three years, the boys have been going into South Point Save-On-Foods and asking for candy donations.
Michelle can recall the first time Emerson made a plea for candy.
“They went to Save-On-Foods in South Point, mom helped, but they asked the manager. Emerson said ‘can you give me candy.’ Save-On-Food was so open and warm, they asked 100 questions and eventually the story came out why they wanted the candy,” Michelle said.
The family picked the Zimbabwe Gecko Society after they finished sponsoring two boys from Africa.
“What we liked about the Zimbabwe Gecko Society is that the founder is local. She was going to Africa, we would send letters to her and she would come back with photos of the children. It became very personal, it was like our boys in Africa,” she said.
“We continued to do it because we found out they were trying to raise money for a school.”
Susan Janetti, founder of the Zimbabwe Gecko Society, said the money the boys collected went towards school supplies and educational toys for Sunrise School.
“This is a school that we built by converting a container into a school room,” Janetti added.
Janetti said supplies such as colouring pencils are “cherished” by the young Zimbabwe children.
“So much so that the teachers give them sticks to practice staying in the lines before colouring a picture – no waste,” Janetti said.
Emerson says he likes to do it because it makes him feel ‘proud’ and he could be ‘historical.’
“For one, it’s the right thing to do because they don’t have school supplies like we do. They don’t have homes like we do,” Emerson said.
The boys will be selling their candy at the Evergreen Heights (1550 Oxford St.) craft fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 24.
Michelle said a secondary bonus to the annual fundraiser is that her children get to be exposed to seniors, and seniors to her children.
“Both worlds are opening up.”
The children have raised about $160 each year, bringing in a total estimated contribution of $800.