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Experiencing life in the 3rd world

Jennifer Zielinski

No clear water, no electricity, so definitely no Ipads.

Grade six students in Kelowna got an inside look into what life would be like without necessities that may get taken for granted in the first world, but are serious realities in developing nations.

Over eight days, 2,000 students from School District 23 shuffled through the Global School House, a series of simulated  interactive presentations which help to portray what school is like for those living in developing countries.

Global School House operates as one of seven events organized by Global Citizen Kelowna, an initiative that shows Kelowna's citizens in international humanitarian efforts.

The initiative aims to bring awareness to the eight United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, with the Global School House focusing on goal number two, universal primary education.

Joyce Brinkerhoff, the volunteer executive director for Global Citizen Kelowna, says through the school house the children are offered four simulated reasons students can't go to school in developing nations.

"One of which is because they have to work, they are at a sweatshop basically. Another is because they are a girl and they go through some of the situations that happen with girls. One is AIDS, other diseases, health issues, water issues ect, and then the last one is that there is a school, but it has very limited resources and you have to have a uniform," she explains.

An activist since the age of nine, Alaina Podmorrow, uses her none profit Little Women 4 Little Women in Afghanistan to help with a simulation to show children the hardships young girls face when trying to attend school in war torn Afghanistan.

"We are educating students about the reality in Afghanistan and then we explain to them how we really can make a change, and we talk to them about the positive changes that are happening in Afghanistan and our responsibility there is to create awareness."

Her organization raises money and awareness for women living in Afghanistan to provide them with the opportunity to go to school, learn to read and write as well as utilize their human rights.

As for the students attending the school house, many were excited to learn about the experiences of children in developing nations but they certainly didn't want to live it.

One boy told Castanet he didn't want to go to school in a shipping container, much like the one some students use in the third world, because it was small, he had to sit on the floor and most importantly there were no electronics.

The Global School House will wrap up and turn into a Global Children's Village on Saturday Feb. 22 where families can experience different cultural activities, held at the New Life Church.  The last event for Global Citizen Kelowna is a speakers series with guest Okello Kelo Sam a former child solider and actor, the event takes place Monday evening at the Trinity Baptist Church.

For more information go to globalcitizenkelowna.org.

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