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BlackBerry announced this week the return of the Build A Village Program, an initiative that takes a select group exceptional students to remote areas around the globe and helps them make a lasting difference.

The Program has already given 150 students from Waterloo region over the past three years, the opportunity to travel to some of the world’s most impoverished villages to make a positive change – one brick at a time.

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This year, the BlackBerry Build A Village Award Program will be giving 50 remarkable students from across Canada the opportunity to embark on a life-defining experience as a volunteer in one of BlackBerry’s adopted villages in Kenya and India. Between now and January 15th, 2014, students (aged 14 to 18) can submit their entry at www.freethechildren.com/buildavillage.

Check out the press release below for more information.

 

PRESS RELEASE

BlackBerry Build A Village Award Program Now Open to All Canadian Students

In its fourth year, BlackBerry and Free The Children empower Canadian students to make a positive difference in the world through volunteer opportunities in Kenya and India

 

Waterloo, ON – The BlackBerry Build A Village Award Program will be giving 50 remarkable students from across Canada the opportunity to embark on a life-defining experience as a volunteer in one of BlackBerry’s adopted villages in Kenya and India. Submissions for students between the ages of 14 and 18 for summer 2014 trips is now open. Between now and January 15th, 2014, students can submit their entry at www.freethechildren.com/buildavillage. To be eligible for the Program, students will have to demonstrate passion, leadership qualities, traits of initiative, work ethic, empathy, maturity, contributions they have made to their local community and their desire for positive change.

The Program has already given 150 students from Waterloo region over the past three years the opportunity to travel to some of the world’s most impoverished villages to make a positive change – one brick at a time. In doing so, participating students not only made a difference in a community in need, but they were also empowered to make a difference in their own communities when they returned.

Canadian students have made significant impacts in the villages where they have volunteered; the Program has seen the successful construction and completion of classrooms in Eor Ewuaso, Kenya, and classrooms in Bagad, India, with classrooms to be built in Oloirion, Kenya and Veradera, India, for the 2014 Build a Village Award Program.

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The multi-pronged Program has also contributed to sustainable community development initiatives in the adopted villages. They include healthcare services at school clinics, training programs for teachers, improving water and sanitation infrastructure – all the basic needs designed to eliminate the obstacles preventing children from pursuing education. The results have been tremendous, changing the lives of children and families considerably in both villages. These are just some of the impacts of the Program to date:

 

  • Eor Ewuaso, Kenya: 39% reduction in dropout rate for girls’ completion of primary education and 43% increase in pre-school enrollment (2010-2012)
  • Bagad, India: 5.7% increase in enrollment and 20% improved teacher to student ratio from 47:1 to 37:1 in one academic school year

 

For more information about the Build A Village Award Program please visit: www.freethechildren.com/buildavillage

About Free The Children

Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organization’s domestic programs – which include We Day, Free The Children’s signature youth empowerment event – educate, engage and empower 1.7 million young people across North America, the UK and around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security to 1 million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.

The organization has received the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non‐Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful

partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah’s Angel Network. For more information, visit

www.freethechildren.com