When it comes to the crisis in Attawapiskat, the First Nation reserve at the heart of a country-wide debate on aboriginal housing, one Carleton student is trying to make a difference. Graham Shonfield, a third-year student studying public affairs and policy management will spend 88 hours camping in a tent to raise funds for the troubled Northern Ontario community.
“I used to travel overseas to volunteer to help other nations, but I realized a few years ago that I didn’t need to go halfway around the world when there are people here who are in dire need of help,” said Shonfield. “The families in the Aboriginal community have been living in tents, sheds and houses needing serious repair for years.”
Shonfield says he has been involved with issues facing Aboriginal people for almost three years. He volunteered at the Gull Bay First Nation reserve in Ontario and made a documentary about what life on a reserve is like from the perspectives of the people living there (www.lifeonthereserve.ca).
Shonfield has set a goal of $1,000 for the fundraiser and says that all proceeds will go to the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (www.fncaringsociety.com) to support Shannen’s Dream. The foundation is honours Shannen Koostachin, a young girl from Attawapiskat who died in 2010 after leading a passionate fight for a new school for her community and other First Nations reserves across the country. Shannen’s dream was to provide safe and equitable education to First Nations children.
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