On Sept 17, I attended Anne Scott’s unveiling of her new book, “Making a Difference”, to the
Grade 7 classes at Hampton Middle School. Anne chose Grade 7 because her inspiration for
the book, Emma, was a grade 7 student at HMS when she decided to use her birthday money
to pay for a young Swazi’s education through the Hampton-Piggs Peak Partnership Starfish
Anne’s motivation to write this book comes from her career as an educator and her passionate
belief that every child has the right to an education. This belief is captured within the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights that says education is a right to be enjoyed by all people, no
matter where they live.
During Ann’s presentation at HMS, she asked 12 students to come forward – 6 put on a bib
designating them as Canadians; 6 wore Swazi bibs. Anne then had the students toss a ball of
yarn to someone from the other country while holding the end of the yarn. After a while, a web
of yarn was created that held up a ball representing a Swazi student. Ann said this
demonstrated the concept of “ubuntu”, the belief in a universal bond that connects all humanity
and allows us to support those who need help.
At HMS, I had the chance to talk about how we are all global neighbours even though some
people want to put walls around their neighbourhoods. To illustrate, I asked the students to
imagine they are walking along the border of their neighbourhood and see a young boy or girl
in the next neighbourhood fall off their bike and break their arm – would they rush to help? Or
would they say to themselves “that person is in a different neighbourhood, they aren’t my
concern”? The students unequivocally said they would rush to help!
I then asked them what makes them do that. One girl answered, “it’s instinctive; it’s just
something you naturally do.” She nailed it! We don’t stand there and think about whether they
are in our neighbourhood or not. We don’t even hesitate to think about what our mother told us
to do in this situation. It’s instinct. Some would say it’s ubuntu. And it’s that spirit that created
and still drives the Hampton-Piggs Peak Partnership today.
Ann reminded us that every person has the right to an education. She also explained that, in
Swaziland, many parents can’t afford to put food on the table, let alone send their children to
school. But the story she tells is a happy one, reminding us that the connection between
humans is real and sometimes, like when you see someone hurt, you can even feel it! Emma
felt it and responded by paying for a girl’s education in Piggs Peak.