SUPPORTERS & CHAMPIONS
IN THEIR OWN WORDS Meaningful moments Discover how travel, music and a little mid-life angst inspired three supporters to join in Plan International Canada’s efforts to create a more just world for children.
CLASS IN SESSION Michael tours a classroom in Vietnam with Nak (standing to his right). Nak is the young girl who inspired his decision to launch the Kids in Class Fund.
I wanted to do something, so I helped arrange the construction of two schools and 23 homes. I supported five girls through school and into college. I also set up schools, built foot bridges and provided livestock to families in the adjacent Ha Giang province. It’s an eight- hour drive northeast of Ha Noi on some pretty dangerous roads. It was quite the adventure. FROM VIETNAM TO CAMBODIA A year later, I returned to the Angkor Wat temple and asked the children if they knew where Nak was. One girl ran away, and the next thing I knew, Nak showed up. [Privately] I was able to help her finish school and go to college to become an accountant. When I am in Cambodia with Plan [International Canada], I invite Nak to join us when we’re touring schools because I want the kids to know that she’s responsible for everything we’ve done. KIDS IN CLASS FUND LAUNCHES Nak was the the inspiration behind my decision in 2011 to launch the Kids in Class Fund [through the TD Waterhouse Private Giving Foundation]. It’s dedicated to improving the lives of children in developing countries. I funded it with $2 million, and that is when I teamed up once again with Plan [International Canada].
Agence française de développement (AFD)
Educate a Child (EAC)
MICHAEL J. WARING CEO OF GALILEO GLOBAL EQUITY ADVISORS INC. FOUNDER OF THE KIDS IN CLASS FUND 24-YEAR PLAN INTERNATIONAL CANADA SUPPORTER
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)
In the ’90s, I had a mid-life crisis and decided to take up skiing. I invested a lot of money and effort to become a decent skier, and one day I asked myself: “When my time is up, what do I want people to say? That I was a good skier?” That didn’t sit right. I first became involved with Plan International Canada after a trip to the Great Wall of China in 1998. Outside the wall, there were women selling postcards. One mother brought out her little five-year-old – and that was it. I got off the bus and walked toward them. The little girl was wearing dirty, tattered clothing and was clearly living in a poverty situation. That experience, and other moments on the trip, were life-altering. I came away thinking, “I’ve got to do something.” THE BEGINNING OF MY JOURNEY When I returned home, I called Plan [International Canada] and started to sponsor a child.
Years later, Plan arranged for me to meet my sponsored child, and it was very emotional. We were both in tears. It was really dramatic. THE LITTLE GIRL WHO CHANGED EVERYTHING In 2008, I was on a business trip to Cambodia and touring the Angkor Wat temple. We were surrounded by kids selling trinkets. I told one girl that I would buy something after I had toured the temple. When I returned later, all the kids were gone – except for Nak. The only thing she had to sell was a book called First They Killed My Father . It was written by a Cambodian girl who lived through the terrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge. I read this book on the flight home and I got quite upset about not knowing the extent of what had gone on. In 2009, I returned to Asia to visit the Sa Pa region in northwest Vietnam. It’s a pretty dire setting. The winters are brutally cold, there’s no sanitation and the houses are poorly built.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
After honouring my eight-year commitment in northern Vietnam, we shifted our focus to Cambodia – and on the barriers for children going to school. One of those barriers is a lack of clean water and latrines. When the children become ill due to contaminated water, they can’t attend classes. I was determined to keep the kids, especially girls, in school. I’ve learned that they’re the first ones to get pulled out by their parents if things aren’t right at home, and they can’t afford to continue their studies. The work I have done with Plan [International Canada] has been very meaningful for me. I can see the impacts of my support, and it’s truly been a transformational experience. See page 31 for a story about the Cambodia project.
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) of Sierra Leone
World Food Programme (WFP)
REPORT CARDS We provide supporters like Michael J. Waring with regular updates on the projects they help fund.
88 | 2022 Annual Report
2022 Annual Report | 89
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