ISSN 1710-6931 July 13, 2007 Issue 103

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Great Satisfaction In Giving

Stephen Spence wasn't originally going to donate school supplies to the New Educational Centre for Hope (NECH), a school in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, Tanzania. He had initially purchased the supplies to send them to a coworker who was in Afghanistan with the Canadian Armed Forces. The coworker was going to distribute the supplies in Afghanistan as a care package.

However, Stephen didn't get the package sent before his coworker's contract ended, so the supplies simply sat around. Luckily for the students at NECH, a school where free education is provided to girls and HIV/AIDS orphans, Stephen's work with RESPECT brought him to their aid.

Stephen first met Marc Schaeffer, RESPECT International's coordinator, about ten years ago when Marc was a math student teacher at Stephen's High School.

In 2006, Stephen randomly ran into Marc at the Winnipeg Festival and Marc told Stephen about RESPECT. At the time Stephen was interested in becoming a journalist and jumped at the opportunity Marc presented him to add to his portfolio while writing on matters he's been interested in for a long time.

Stephen has written an article about cow breeding in Tanzania for HIV/AIDS orphans. He has also written two reviews for YouTube videos, one concerning some of RESPECT's work in Guinea and the second mostly concerned with the plight of refugees in Ghana and Uganda.

With his purchased supplies not yet helping anyone, Stephen read Ms. Kay Adoshima's article about the donation of pens in RESPECT's e-Zine and decided this was a perfect opportunity to make up for one that had been lost.

NECH is a partner of RESPECT International in Tanzania and participates in the refugee Global Letter Exchange Program conducted by RESPECT.

After deciding to send his supplies to this school, Stephen went to the post office and asked how much it would cost to ship the supplies by surface mail - which takes approximately three to four weeks. The answer: $20 CDN (about $19.08 USD and €14.01 EUR), an amount Stephen says was surprisingly cheap for what he thought would cost considerably more.

Although he is unsure if the supplies have arrived, Stephen says it will make him feel great knowing they are being put to use by students who truly need them. He thinks the students at NECH will appreciate the supplies far more than those who are accustomed to easily obtaining such materials and taking them for granted.

He also says that if he ever has the opportunity to travel to Tanzania - or any other country RESPECT is involved with - he will take the chance in a second. He adds that it has always been an ambition of his to see Africa.

He thinks that anyone living in a First World country should, if possible, try to view the Third and Second World first-hand to understand the advantages and opportunities First World citizens have, purely by chance of birth, as compared to other parts of the world.

For anyone considering donations, Stephen says it's probably far less expensive than you think it might be, particularly considering the sense of satisfaction that it gives for having done it. You can donate through RESPECT's online donation page or for more information contact RESPECT directly at:

  • Mr. Marc Schaeffer
  • International Coordinator
  • RESPECT International
  • 935 Warsaw Avenue
  • Winnipeg, MB R3M 1B9
  • CANADA
  • Te: 1-204-284-1919
  • E-mail: respect@respectrefugees.org

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