Surrey students raise thousands for COVID-19 aid in India

·2 min read
Students at Surrey's Khalsa School prepare for an online art auction to support COVID-19 relief in India.  (Shawn Foss/CBC News - image credit)
Students at Surrey's Khalsa School prepare for an online art auction to support COVID-19 relief in India. (Shawn Foss/CBC News - image credit)

A group of Grade 7 students in Surrey, B.C., have already raised thousands of dollars for COVID-19 relief in India and they're hoping to collect even more with an art auction next week.

Teacher Dale Cope's class at Newton's Khalsa School wanted to make a difference for the people of India, and so they spent two weeks gathering belongings they were willing to part with and buying snacks to sell at a table set up in the school's hallway.

They've sold things like Pokemon cards and slime, raking in more than $3,000 so far.

"They've already gone past any expectation I had. My original thought was it'd be awesome if they raised $700. They've definitely beat that," Cope told CBC News.

Their early efforts were so successful they decided to keep things going, and will be holding an online art auction on Monday, selling their own paintings and mixed media creations.

"They're already leaders in their own right. They're definitely making change in the world," Cope said.

The students voted on where to send their earnings and settled on Khalsa Aid, an international non-profit organization that is providing India's hard-hit hospitals with much-needed medical supplies including oxygen concentrators.

India's hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients in recent months, and the number of deaths has been catastrophic.

Cope said his students feel a strong connection to the country.

"They all have extended family living in India, and we have had several students and teachers who've lost family within the last few months. Sometimes it's very sudden and they lose multiple family members in a day. It's heartbreaking," he said.

Students who spoke with CBC News this week expressed pride in what they've accomplished.

"All the people in India are struggling with their needs and medical care," Karamvir Thiara said.

"I'm very happy to have helped them with that."

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