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High school clubs create mobile library

Posted: December 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Members of the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force pose at their annual dinner in November. From left to right: Audrey Abergel of Valencia High, Taylor James of Hart High, Abby Gunning of Hart High, Sindy Alacorn of Canyon High, Christina Vera of Canyon High, Jenna Shelton of Valencia High, Gayne Kalustian of Hart High, and Yirzely Villanovoa ...

After a semester of hard work, the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force chapters from Academy of the Canyons, Canyon, Golden Valley, Hart and Valencia high schools have completed their first mobile library project. The project departed this past November for a refugee camp in Eastern Chad, Camp Djabal. In the library were projects and lessons completed by the various chapters aimed at teaching the refugees English along with materials uploaded to Kindles.

Fundraising and awareness projects included two screenings of the international film “The First Grader,” about a man seeking an education that had been previously denied to him during a period of conflict in his home country Kenya. The screenings took place at both Santa Monica High School and Hart High School, informing the local communities about the human right to education.

“Even though the movie was about Kenya, I think it really did a good job of highlighting some of the problems facing refugees in Chad,” Hart High School task force Co-president Abby Gunning said. “The issue of the right to education is a widespread problem in developing nations or for displaced people, and we think it’s important that the international community take part in the mission to educate those overseas.”

Leaders from the student task force chapters also attended Southern California’s Human Rights Watch organization’s annual dinner at the Beverly Hills Hilton, of Nov. 15 where the students were able to showcase some of the mobile library’s components and listen to speeches by human rights advocates receiving awards that night, Sister Consuelo Morales and
Sussan Tahmasebi. Recognized for their work in Mexico and Iran, respectively, the two women inspired the students to take further action and stand by their convictions to protect human rights.

“I especially liked the speech given by Ms. Tahmasebi,” Gunning said. “It really felt like what she was doing to help the women in Iran was making a tangible difference and she never gave up on that challenge. It made me think of what we’re doing with the mobile library and how important it is for us to keep working at it.”

This month, the students hosts a gift-wrapping fundraiser at Westfield Valencia Town Center to support the creation of a second mobile library for the children in Camp Goz Amer in Eastern Chad.

Gayne Kalustian is co-president of the Hart High School Student Task Force Chapter.


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