A girl from Cloverdale is offering encouragement to Ukrainian children.
Zara Everitt, an eight-year-old student at Maddaugh Road Elementary School, is making videos to encourage Ukrainian children that have been affected by war.
“I felt bad about what was happening in Ukraine when I watched the news with my parents,” Zara told the Cloverdale Reporter. “My message to the children of Ukraine is to stay strong and to persevere through this war.”
Zara said one of her videos garnered positive responses from her fellow students.
“My teacher decided to show a video in class,” said Zara. “When it was done, all my classmates said, ‘great job’ and ‘good work.’ I even became closer friends with one of my friends, Maya. She gave me a Ukrainian bracelet and she’s from Ukraine too.”
Zara said she plans to make more videos, but isn’t quite sure what shape they’ll take yet.
“I’m just going to see what happens, wait for any further updates, and I’ll form a plan.”
Zara’s mom, Nazly Taheri, said Ukraine was a bit of a passion project for Zara before she decided to film the videos. She said Zara had felt quite dejected over seeing information on the war and that’s what moved her to action.
“Before Zara made the videos, she wrote a letter to the Prime Minister about how to stop the war.”
Zara then received a letter back from the PM, but she still felt like she needed to do more.
“When she decided to do the videos, it was about a month ago, and at that time there were global protests going on,” explained Nazly. “She noticed that no one was talking to the kids. We were seeing all the evacuations (on the news) and she felt like the messaging to the kids was being missed. So she wanted to talk directly to them and that’s how the video idea came about.”
Nazly’s pleased with how much attention the videos are getting.
“So much is happening around our children and you feel powerless,” she said. “But social media has given people a voice. If you have a cell phone then you have a voice. You have a platform.”
Nazly said she’s teaching Zara how to use social media as a tool to empower and motivate people.
“I’m encouraging her to be politically active,” she added. “Our children are the decision makers of the future. So this is an opportunity for them to learn and to participate.”
Zara said she knows some Ukrainian children will be coming to Canada to escape their war-torn homeland and she has a message for them too.
“I would like to welcome them with a warm hand and I know they’re going to make a lot of friends. And I hope they’re going to have so much fun in this country because it’s very peaceful and kind.”