Red Deer Public School District

Students take to social media to help feed youth in Africa

Keisho Kanyama, a high school exchange student, recently brought a social media initiative from his home school in Japan to share with local students.

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School and Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School participated in #onigiriaction. Popular in Japan, the non-profit organization Table for Two helps to organize the purchase and delivery of meals to needy students suffering from poverty and hunger in Africa.

For every post of children eating 'onigiri' (rice balls) and using the hashtag #onigiriaction, five meals are donated to hungry students in Africa. On Instagram alone, almost two million meals will be donated because of the action on that social media platform.

“The general purpose is helping people in Africa who are suffering from poverty and hunger. Teachers bought rice, cooked and surprised the classrooms. Students made their own rice balls and took pictures and posted it on social media,” said Kanyama. “The activity is one of tradition of my high school in Japan. This is a good experience for students in Canada to do something for other people.”

At Gateway, high school students met with their ‘buddies’ in younger grades, made rice balls, talked about hunger and poverty around the world, and how we all could help.

Chris Kooman, vice principal at Gateway said he is proud that Kanyama shared this initiative with the school.

“Based on the work that an international NGO called Table For Two does in fighting poverty around the world, Keisho was inspired to lead 'social action' at Gateway. He made a presentation to high school teachers and administrators, convincing them that trying Onigiri Action would be a great way to raise awareness about worldwide hunger and poverty, while contributing to the donation of meals for those less fortunate,” he said. “It was a great day and to see our students come together for a fantastic cause was inspiring.”