U2 frontman Bono recently praised Kildonan-East Collegiate staff and students for their work in Africa.
The school has worked for a number of years, in conjunction with Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, to raise money to help construct two 30,000- litre rainwater harvesting tanks, hand-washing stations, and pit latrines in Karatu, Tanzania.
Daria Salamon, a teacher at the East Kildonan-based school had the opportunity to meet the Irish rock star while the band was in town for a May 29 show at Canad Inns Stadium.
Bono was quite impressed with the amount of effort and commitment the students showed to complete the project, Salamon said.
"I went up to him and told him about the project, and that we were inspired by his work globally," she said.
"He said he thought it was a great project and signed our photo from the trip."
For Grade 12 student Alyssa Kenesk, the years of fundraising were difficult. However, being able to see the fruits of their labour last summer, and getting praise from Bono has made all of the hard work worth it.
"It was hard at times because people would get frustrated," said Kenesk. "I just thought, ‘What if I didn’t have water or food?’ It was for the greater good.
"I think it’s amazing that Bono has so much stuff going on in his life, but he still takes the time to help."
Matthew Stewart, 17, was one of the 22 staff and students who visited the east African village in the summer of 2010.
His involvement with the project is still paying dividends today. On June 14, Stewart received the 2011 Global Citizenship Award from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation.
"It’s definitely something up there in terms of achievements," said Stewart. "The project is something that’s been dear to my heart."
Stewart and some of his fellow classmates have been involved in raising money for Tanzania since they came to the school four years ago.
Even though he’s about to graduate, Stewart feels that the job still isn’t done.
"The job’s never done. I want to go back and do more," he said.
"It’s not done until everyone is equal."
Salamon has watched the students grow over the years, and she’s proud of what they’ve accomplished.
"For them it’s become a way of life, it defined their high school careers," she said.
"After the first year they raised $7,000, and after four we had $180,000. Now they’re graduating high school, and two schools in Africa have rainwater harvesting tanks. That’s the part that means a lot."