A Lower School Teacher, Rebecca Tupling truly believes that education should be accessible to everyone and has created two projects (one in Ontario, Canada and the other in Mwanza, Tanzania) to help promote educational opportunities for others. Both projects help make education accessible for students, which creates more opportunities for the individual’s involved.
The Elijah Tupling Fun Run
Rebecca comes from a small rural farming community in central Ontario called Stayner. She grew up there until the age of 18 where she went off to university. Today, both her parents still live there and she has strong roots to the people and the community.
On September 21, 2008 tragedy hit Rebecca’s family when her older brother (Elijah) passed away in a car accident. Grief shook Rebecca and her family hard and the next few years they all grieved separately. However, in 2012 Rebecca, her sister and her Mom decided to do something positive and started the annual charity run called ‘The Elijah Tupling Fun Run’.
This past year (2017) Rebecca and her family are very proud to announce that they celebrated the 5th annual run. Each year around 150 people participate through actively running/walking in the event, volunteering or on-line donations. The donations are then returned directly back into the community through scholarships for students graduating from the local high school (where Rebecca, her brother and sister attended, and where her Mom taught for twenty years). These students are entering college or university in either Early Childhood Education or Teaching. Over the last five years Rebecca and her family have awarded ten students this scholarship. These students who receive the scholarships portray a drive and passion for education, and are exactly what Rebecca’s brother (who was also a teacher) would have loved to see as a teacher.
For more information (regarding updates and pictures), please like the facebook page ‘The Eliljah Tupling Fun Run’.
In 2011 when Rebecca and her two friends were travelling through Tanzania and Kenya they stayed for six weeks in a city called Mwanza, Tanzania which is in the north-west part of the country. One of Rebecca’s friends that she was travelling with had lived in Mwanza a few years prior and had made heartfelt connections with the people and the community. One specific person was Josephine John, who was a devoted and inspiring teacher who promoted inclusiveness for special needs. A few years later Josephine’s school made changes to the enrolment and asked the special needs students to find a new school; which there wasn’t at that time. Josephine, being the truly remarkable person that she is decided to open up her own school and called it St. Paul Nursery. Rebecca has been in close communication with Josephine since this occured in 2013 and wanted to help Josephine’s dream come true. In 2014 Rebecca started the project ‘Mwanza Matters’ while she was living in Canada. At that time she started to import goods made by a special needs school in the same community of Mwanza (called Tunaweza), sell the goods at markets in Vancouver and Toronto, and then send all the proceeds back to Josephine to help build St. Paul Nursery. The first year of the project Rebecca helped pay for the roof of the school, then has continued to help pay for such goods as classroom material, a water purifier, the teachers’ salaries and teaching resources. CDNIS has played a huge role in helping St. Paul with individual teachers supporting the project through a charity night, attending yoga sessions and donating over 500 books that have been sent over the last year.
Rebecca returned to Mwanza in 2016 during a break at CDNIS and when she returned she told her students all about her travels. One specific student (on his following birthday) decided that he would ask for donations to the school, instead of gifts for himself. This incredibly thoughtful act has created a long term friendship between this student (Gabriel) and a student’s tuition he has paid for at St. Paul Nursery (Andrew) where they continue to communicate. In addition, to the money Gabriel raised it helped build new classroom furniture.
For more information (regarding updates and pictures), please like the facebook page ‘Mwanza Matters’.