She is only in Grade 9, but Rachael Botto is already proving that anyone, at any age, can change the world.
The Vernon secondary school student is making plans to travel to a small village in India next year with her Global Action class, led by teacher Susan Egan.
To make her dream a reality, she has been busy fundraising to help pay her way.
Her first big fundraiser takes place Saturday at Blanca’s Hairstyling, where everyone is encouraged to drop by for haircuts, manicures and airbrush makeup by donation.
“Everyone has been so supportive and kind,” said Rachael, “and I hope that people have a lot of fun on Saturday.
Rachael has always wanted to help children in other countries.
“We have so much and they have so little, and I just want to help,” she said.
Global Action is a leadership and volunteer program that works with Free the Children, founded by Craig Kielburger when he was just 12 years old. The international charity empowers youth to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change, a model that works both at home and abroad.
Egan is taking a group of students to Kenya this summer to build a school there, and the trip to the rural village in India, near Udaipur, takes place during spring break 2013.
“Students will volunteer to help build a school, so that the children there can learn to read and write,” she said. “Education gives children more options for their future, in an area where child labour is a sad reality.
“Girls in particular have very poor access to education in this part of India.”
Egan said Rachael is working hard to fundraise for her travel expenses.
“Students like Rachael really make a difference in the world,” she said. “She is a girl with a very big heart.”
Since its founding in 1995, Free the Children has built more than 650 schools and school rooms in communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America, providing education to more than 55,000 children every day. Its primary goals are to free children from poverty and exploitation and free young people from the notion that they are powerless to effect positive change in the world.
Rachael’s fundraiser takes place Saturday between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside Blanca’s Hairstyling, 2906-31st Ave.
“Blanca has generously offered to do haircuts and styles by donation as has her esthetician colleague, Connie, who will be doing manicures,” said Egan. “Makeup artist Sara Vey will donate her time doing airbrush makeup, and there will be face painting, a barbecue and a silent auction.”
A wide variety of items have been donated for the silent auction, including a round of golf for two at The Rise, which includes a power cart, all of which is valued at $230. Blanca’s Hairstyling has donated a gift certificate for one permanent cosmetic, valued at $350. People’s has donated a Black and White diamond pendant valued at $70. The Bay has donated an Estée Lauder gift bag filled with cosmetics, valued at $100. Sun FM is offering four tickets to Saturday Night roller derby, and other items have been donated by Purdy’s and the Spice Rack.
“I am very excited about the trip and I’m looking forward to the experience of helping and meeting the children,” said Rachael.
Egan wishes to thank Free the Children and EF Tours, for making the trip possible. There is still space available for Global Action India, and the experience is open to students in the Vernon School District who will be in Grades 10 to 12 in 2013. For more information, contact Egan at 250-545-0701 or email@example.com