By Mary Rose Magcamit
A young American intern at the White House has donated to the online fund-raising drive of the Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library (KRIS) which has committed to send 500 young but smart Christian and Muslim kids to school in five years.
Emily Kvalheim, an 18-year-old intern at the Office of Presidential Correspondence in the White House, has donated US $15 to the KRIS Library’s fund drive to send 100 scholars in school year 2012-2013. KRIS Library already sent 101 scholars to school in the past three years.
Kvalheim had been introduced to the cause when she befriended Arizza Ann S. Nocum, the 17-year-old administrator of KRIS Library through the social networking site, Facebook. Kvalheim and Nocum happen to be two of the five global recipients of Zonta International’s Young Women for Public Affairs Award last year.
“I have never met Emily before, but we’ve exchanged messages over Facebook for a while now. Although she’s miles away, we’re like soulmates—in that we believe in the same cause,” shares Nocum, an industrial engineering scholar at the University of the Philippines.
Nocum recently started the online fund drive to pay forward her five-year free schooling as an Oblation scholar at the premier university. As the first Filipino recipient of the award, Nocum received a US$ 4,000 prize, part of which she spent for building one of six KRIS Libraries all over the country.
Kvalheim had decided to donate when Nocum posted on her Facebook profile a story about one of the KRIS Library scholars, Joan Pangan. Pangan had graduated last March as a wunderkind of Zamboanga City, bagging First Honours and ten more medals from Manicahan National High School. Several more KRIS Library scholars had also graduated with honours last and the previous years.
This year, the Fund has already raised P27,000 from donations of Rotary International-Zamboanga City, Australian and Canadian nationals, and kind-hearted Filipinos. Nocum says KRIS needs at least P63,000 to send 100 scholars in public elementary, high school and college levels.
Kvalheim is currently doing volunteer work at The Office of Presidential Correspondence in the White House, where President Barack Obama aims to keep all communication lines open to every American. She has also been an active participant of Invisible Children, Key Club, and the National Honor Society, through which she had raised money for numerous non-profit organizations. She has had a special place in her heart for advocacies in Uganda and Kenya.
“I think what you’re doing is awesome! Keep up the good work,” Kvalheim tells Nocum in their online conversation.
“The correspondence between Emily and me has been empowering. When it comes to public service, there is no age or nationality or distance. There is only passion,” Nocum states.
Nocum is inviting other young Filipinos to participate in her cause, sharing that the youth today have a powerful tool they can use to usher in a generation of public servants. She says, “Our next tweets, texts, status updates, posts, or blogs have the potential to change the lives of Filipinos. This is what I have been basically doing through KRIS Library. This is what I will continue to do.”
Nocum says the main selling point of the online scholarship fund, “Give $15 to Send 1 Filipino Child to School”, is the incisive message that the measly $15 or P600 is already enough to fund the education of a poor Filipino for an entire year.
Starting as a peace and education advocacy in 2001, KRIS Library has given out 50,000 books and magazines to ill-equipped public schools in Mindanao, donated used computers to poor communities, and built six libraries all over the country where poor children can have free use of donated computers, do research work, and take free reading and computer lessons.
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