SchoolBOX Indigenous Library Project
SchoolBOX partners with Indigenous youth to equip Indigenous communities in Canada with educational resources.
The Indigenous Youth Empowering Students (IYES) program was the catalyst for the SchoolBOX Indigenous Library Project, launched in 2017. Since 2009 the IYES program has enabled Indigenous youth to travel to Nicaragua on a school build project where they are able to embrace their own cultural identity and customs through sharing them with the children of Nicaragua.
Our long-term vision is to empower Indigenous youth to use their experiences in Nicaragua to become leaders of change in their home communities. According to AFN, only 39% of reserve schools in Canada are equipped with libraries, and almost 50% of reserve communities are in need of a new school. Given the need for educational resources here in Canada, SchoolBOX launched a new pilot program to install our first Indigenous library in 2017.
The story of one of our IYES alumni, Terri Meekis, is one of the reasons we are committed to ‘Make Education Possible’ not only in Nicaragua but also in Indigenous communities.
Terri’s Story: Our Reason for Action
Terri Meekis is an Anishnaabe woman, social worker, and single mother from Wabauskang First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory, Northwestern Ontario. She traveled to Nicaragua with SchoolBOX’s IYES program in 2012 and again in 2017. Terri helped to construct schools in impoverished Nicaraguan communities and shared her Indigenous culture with the children.
Terri’s heart for empowerment through education is all the more significant given that her own Wabauskang First Nation community did not have an elementary school or a library. Her children travel each day outside of their community to attend elementary school. Unfortunately, their experience is not unique.
Terri’s story, similar to many other Indigenous communities, was our call to action. We must all do what we can to facilitate reconciliation and empower Indigenous communities with proper educational resources for the next generation.
Terri teaching children about the medicine wheel (left) and with her daughter Keira (right), in Nicaragua.
For more information on our Indigenous Library Project, email Sarah Kerr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Launched the SchoolBOX Indigenous Library Project in 2017.
- Worked with Terri Meekis and leaders of the Wabauskang First Nation to start a library on their reserve.
- A new library including 500+ Indigenous books, 5 book shelves, 2 iPads, 1 e-reader, a kids reading area, and an adult reading corner was installed in the Wabauskang Youth Centre and completed in October 2017.
- Thank you to USGE, Laidlaw Foundation, and the many individuals donors who helped to fund this pilot project!
Contact Sarah Kerr for more information on how to help: email@example.com