African education targeted

Metchosin couple look to recruit local youth for cause

Dave Cuddy and Robyn Penfold are looking to rally support locally for Education is Power

When Dave Cuddy travelled to East Africa to do outreach work with Canada World Youth, he was struck by the importance and value families there place on education.

For many, having an education means a person can contribute in more meaningful ways to their family’s well-being, said Cuddy, a relatively new resident of Metchosin.

“There’s been a number of things that have struck me about it,” he said, reflecting on his initial trip and his current undertaking, a national program called Education is Power (EIP). “I would say that the lack of opportunity is what is preventing people from making a better livelihood for themselves, and giving back to their community in a more sustainable and healthy way.”

With secondary school costing families as much as $450 a year, many are unable to continue sending their children to school, which leads to a cycle of poverty and stagnancy.

“Education is the major force that was lacking. With all of the other challenges that were surrounding people in East Africa, education was a tool that could help them solve each and every one of those challenges. I found that people were very passionate about receiving an education; they see it as a gift.”

Current initiatives for which EIP partners are raising funds include providing tuition for five post-secondary and 16 secondary students in Kenya and Tanzania, the continuation of youth empowerment programs, the hiring of two new teachers at an overcrowded school in Kenya, and helping sponsor 19 high school and seven college/university students to continue their studies.

Cuddy, a founding director for EIP and a student in Royal Roads University’s global management master program, and his wife Robyn Penfold, a teacher-on-call in the Sooke School District, are looking to rally support here for this non-profit charitable program, and are focusing on local youth.

The initial goal, Penfold said, is to get students and staff at West Shore schools excited about the opportunity to help these people for whom education is a critical element to a successful life.

She and Cuddy have classes in five Vancouver Island schools on board so far, and they welcome requests to speak to local students and staff about the program.

“We really like the students to own it, because it’s really about them figuring out their place in making a difference,” Penfold said. “We like students to brainstorm, think it out, feel that much more proud about what they do. Putting together a project themselves builds confidence.”

While fundraising on a school-by-school basis is one of the ultimate goals, there is an even bigger push right now to give students and teachers the tools with which to help the cause.

Thanks to a commitment by the Karen and Fred Green Foundation, every dollar raised by Canadian classrooms or youth groups  between now and Dec. 1 will be matched with a $3 donation to EIP, up to $25,000.

“They wanted to do this to engage more youth,” Penfold said of the donors. “They liked what we were doing as an organization. They didn’t want to just give a chunk of money, they wanted to make sure it was being productive.”

Youth helping youth is a key premise of the volunteer-run charity.

“Definitely we’re planting the seeds of the idea,” she said. “We want to get into schools and motivate kids. The goal with this matching funds campaign is to motivate the kids to make it at least a little ways further. It’s an opportunity to see their change magnified.”

To jumpstart the local campaign, the couple are giving a presentation outlining EIP’s mission next Monday, Sept. 28, starting at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at Stephen Whipp Financial, 734 Goldstream Ave.

For more information on the organization, visit, find them on Facebook at Education is Power Africa, email or call 250-999-9556.

Just Posted

More than 2,700 units of affordable homes underway in Greater Victoria

Units part of 20,000 that are underway in B.C.

Victoria television producer makes documentary about opioid crisis

A Just Society includes 30 interviews filmed in Victoria, Duncan and Ladysmith

St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church hosts open house, spring cemetery clean up

Learn more about the region’s oldest cemetery May 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

BREAKING: Court says B.C. can’t restrict oil shipments in key case for Trans Mountain

A five-judge Appeal Court panel agreed unanimously that B.C.’s proposed legislation was not constitutional

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read