VE Day blues as Canadian students go fasting for poverty awareness

By  | 13 May 2010 at 04:49 | 918 views

World War 2 veteran: When I was your age I defeated the Nazis in Holland

Young man: With X-Box or PlayStation?

This is a joke conveyed in a cartoon in the freely available on Canadian newspaper, Metro News (, on Friday May 7, 2010. It is a portrayal of the attitudes of younger Canadians to the Second World War, as Canada marked ‘Victory in Europe’ Day on Saturday May 8 2010. VE Day is the annual commemoration of the allied powers’ acceptance of formal surrender by Germany in May 1945. It is observed a day later on May 9 in Russia (USSR) because of time zone differences with Berlin where the signing took place.

Today, 65 years later Canadians are reliably reported to be less interested in the war that claimed millions of lives, maimed even more, and involved the entire world, including Sierra Leone. Canada played a major role in the war (WW 2), which lasted from 1939 to 1945. It was Canada, which led the liberation of Holland from German invasion/occupation. Notorious Nazi leader Adolf Hitler started the war as Chancellor of Germany, later drawing in Italy and Japan on his country’s side. Britain, the USA, the USSR (now Russia), Canada, Canada and Australia were the top Allied powers on the side of the free world.

So great was the grief and impact that WW 2 veterans are honoured to this day. However the present generation may not be so aware, apparently caring even less compared to their parents and grand parents. A survey credited to a reputable pollster suggests this is the trend, if the war was going on today.

According to QMI Agency, the Historic-Dominion Institute survey “looked at Canadians’ attitudes about veterans. It found 72% of older Canadians would serve if it were 1939 and they were 20 years old. Most middle-aged Canadians (59%) also said they’d sign up, but just 40% of adults under the age of 35 say they’d join the fight.”

However, this seems to be only one side of the coin. Canadian youngsters are not apathetic to issues affecting humanity. It is probably the currency (nearness) and/or proximity (nearness) of the problems that plague the world today that largely influences their interests. Typically around (high school) ages of 16 t0 18, adolescents in Edmonton recently made a bold statement to this effect.

About 75 pupils of ME Lazerte Senior High School earlier this month voluntarily went without food for 30 hours. How’s that for charity - by fasting? The aim was to raise money while promoting awareness of poverty and malnutrition in communities around the world. They collected close to Cdn$6,000 which they plan to give to World Vision, a non-profit organization that operates in different countries worldwide, including Sierra Leone. World Vision strives to help alleviate global poverty in different ways.

Situated in the northeast of this fast growing Canadian metropolis, ME (as kids call it), is a composite school with big-hearted students and principal and staff. They have been holding similarly impressive events to raise funds for a wide range of noble causes. Andreas Morse comments in the Edmonton edition of Metro News: “Trying to get a teenager to stop eating for any amount of time is almost impossible, unless that teenager is a student at ME LaZerte High School.”

Morse quotes Shelley Kofluk the teacher organizer of the famine.” They just raised $25,000 for cancer, and a week later they raise $6,000. It’s definitely where their interests lie and what they’re passionate about.”

In April 2009, for example, the school hosted ‘Taste of LaZerte’ to celebrate and showcase the diverse ethnic backgrounds of its hundreds of pupils. It is even featured on Face Book and Google. Others in the Edmonton Public Schools system with similar commendable drives over the years include Ross Sheppard, McNally, Jasper Place, Old Scona Academic, Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Centre High schools.

There are just as many initiatives in the other strata of EPS, like junior high and elementary; as well as those of the Edmonton Catholic School District. EPS and ECSD are the two major school boards in the city. The equivalent of a Canadian Senior High School is a Senior Secondary School (SSS) in Sierra Leone. Junior High is Junior Secondary School (JSS) while an Elementary School is called a Primary School in Sierra Leone.