Amid the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, a few students of Moreland Middle School (MMS), San Jose, California, USA held a fundraiser to help communities affected by disasters around the world. During the entire month of December 2020 they spread awareness about the problems faced by communities because of devastating floods in the city of Hyderabad, in Telangana, India, and the destructive wildfires in the states of California and Colorado, in the United States. An additional objective of this fundraiser was to help the children in their local school district enhance critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and integrate principles and present information using Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education.
Ayaan painting the placards for the event
The fundraiser was organized by Ayaan Raza, a 6th-grade student from MMS, the third such event held in the recent past. Like the other years, Ayaan formed a team, this time with his fellow 6th grader friends Amogh Gurlahosur and Shivam Singhal. The three students planned the fundraiser by holding weekly meetings (online) and discussed dates, goals and shared ideas on how to reach out to the people and draw their attention to the issues affecting people worldwide.
Ayaan designed and created boards highlighting the purpose of the fundraiser that included the potential organizations for whom they’d be raising the funds – ActionAid Association in India and ActionAid and Direct Relief in USA. Ayaan made sure that the deadlines were met. Along with his friends, Ayaan also worked on and came up with a website that spoke about their fundraising mission. The team leveraged on social media and emails to further their fundraising message to a global audience. All this hard work was done after school, on the weekends, and during holidays to collect money for the fundraiser.
Ayaan in conversation with his friends Amogh and Shivam planning the event
As of December 31st, 2020, the total funds collected were $4262.28. The money was then distributed equally to the following organizations such as Moreland Education Foundation to support their efforts in providing STEAM education for kids in the community, ActionAid USA to support their work for their global coronavirus response, Direct Relief, USA to help communities affected by the California and Colorado Wildfires, as well as ActionAid Association for relief measures in response to the Hyderabad Floods.
Glimpses from the Fundraiser
Ayaan Raza has been successful in organising and leading fundraising events in the past, while he was a student at Gussie Baker Elementary School. Ayaan has also volunteered for a few days with students in India. Such engagements help instilling in young people a sense of global, civic responsibility, creative thinking and presentation skills. Ayaan is setting an example for others to follow.
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