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

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

Fatherhood draws Victoria man to publish Tsimshian colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Most Read