Africare News Release
Africare President “Talks Africa” With Green Farms Academy Students
GREEN FARMS, CT , May 3, 2007 — Africare President Julius E. Coles visited the Green Farms Academy on Thursday, May 3, as the 11th James M. Coyle Endowed Visiting Scholar. Coles’s speech was part of a series the academy presents every year to expose its students to the life’s work and knowledge of prominent individuals of scholarly and contemporary interest. Coles focused on Africa in the New Millennium — and more specifically, how young people can get involved in tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges, such as those faced by Africans every day.
“Poverty in Africa is not just an adult issue,” noted Coles. “There are many African children and youths today who are equally concerned and engaged regarding the issues that face them, from hunger to health care. And they want to do something about it! Let’s nurture this innate desire for self-help, let’s show the people of Africa how, and let us also learn from them at the same time.”
Green Farms Academy, near Westport, Connecticut, is known for its creative approach to learning. Students are challenged with a rigorous curriculum and encouraged to think outside the box in order to become independent, critical thinkers and problem-solvers. On May 3, a crowd of students, from kindergarteners to 12th graders, were given a new challenge: to learn about an interconnected range of problems facing a continent on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean — Africa.
“If you were bitten by a mosquito and became sick with malaria, what would you do?” Coles asked his young audience. “Visit a doctor? Take medicine or a shot to help you get better? These basic resources are not available for many children in Africa. When they get sick, they have nowhere to turn. And that is why, today in Africa, one child dies from malaria — a preventable infection ? every 30 seconds.”
In addition to health, Coles touched on basic necessities like food, water and shelter — unavailable to many Africans. In 2002, the World Food Program estimated that approximately 40 million Africans were living under the risk of starvation; and current data suggests increases within Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet while the problems seem large, Coles reassured his young audience that there were organizations like Africare on the ground trying to make a difference. He also stressed the importance of younger generations getting involved in order to make their mark — whether though fundraisers, awareness campaigns or simple conversations.
“I’m inspired by these young minds: their ideas and their energy,” noted Coles. “Their positive outlook about the future and ability to make a difference will go a long way toward changing many of the negative statistics that have plagued Africa for decades.”
To learn more, click here to read about “10 Ways You Can Help Africa.” In addition, click here for a wealth of other resources on Africa. Read about Coles’s visit on the Green Farms Academy Web site by clicking here.