Volume 90, Issue 76

Friday, February 07, 1997



Helping kids help themselves

By Dan Gladman
Gazette Staff

Children in Third World countries need help to help themselves. Save the Children-Canada has some remedies and the organization presented some of its ideas to a group at Western yesterday.

Dina Aloi, project director for the organization's Latin America program, showed a video and discussed the company's actions with Western's chapter of Save the Children last night in Rm. 373 of the University Community Centre. The video's footage featured child-to-child activities in Nicaragua.

"You'd be surprised at some of the things these kids talk about," Aloi said, adding some of these topics included alcoholism and health concerns.

She expressed Save the Children's concern with a newly-elected conservative government in the Central American nation. "[It] has been threatening to clean the streets of street kids in Nicaragua. In Brazil, at night, they shoot street kids," she said.

In order to prevent such measures, the company is looking to its satellites to become involved. "We need people to be active and tell us what activities they want to do," Aloi said. "Fund-raising is always a concern."

She said that Save the Children is run by an older faction. The average age of its executives is 67 and is mostly women.

"We're looking for younger, motivated individuals with fresh ideas," she told the group of students on hand.

Syreta Roberts, co-vice-president for Save the Children–Canada at Western, said members of the club are in a position to gain knowledge on how to go about getting involved in international child care.

"Fund-raising is the backbone of our organization, in addition to field work," Roberts said. "[Some group members] have the chance to work in Canada with refugee children and children who don't have breakfast before they go to school."

Aloi's presentation was an opportunity to view hands-on work and share her personal experience in the Third World.

"I've become more aware of how things are done," Roberts said. "We spoke about Nicaragua, Peru, Jamaica and a little on Brazil.

"Every country has different problems that need to be addressed."

For the Western club, the main thrust will continue to be fund-raising through events such as basketball tournaments and raffles.

"We want to support those involved in the club," Aloi said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997