Skip To Main Content

PreK-Grade 12 International Day and Boarding School in Kobe, Japan | Since 1913


Continued action to make a positive difference in the world

Continued action to make a positive difference in the world

As you may know, the Personal Project is an important project which concludes the Middle Years Program. However, the completion of the project does not mean the end of the actions that the students take through the project. 

Ricky Miller, a recent graduate from Canadian Academy, is one of the students who actively continued working on his project after Middle School, and made a remarkable achievement. He collected donations and sent them to a school in Kenya. Ricky kindly answered our questions so that we could learn more about his project.

1. Please give us an overview of your project.

The Grapesyard project aims to raise money and awareness for an NGO school called the Grapesyard School, located in the slums of Korogocho in Nairobi, Kenya. To raise awareness, I created various social media platforms. I initially tried raising money for their soccer team in 10th grade but was unsuccessful. 

With my failure to raise money to help others looming over me, when an opportunity came up to help the school build a basketball court, I quickly took advantage of it. This was done over a two-month period in which I raised over 280,000 yen (CAD 3000) from 34 people, as the creation of the basketball court was a success. 

I plan on continuing to help the school by raising awareness and money for not only their basketball court but for other parts of the school, such as to create a more stable walking ground for the students.

2. What made you decide to work on this project?

Growing up, I always had a strong sense of empathy and wanted to help living things, whether insects or people. I remember crying when a roly-poly, an insect that some would consider insignificant, would die. It left me feeling helpless and sorrowful that I was unable to help it stay alive. 

Since then, I have been trying to make a positive impact whenever I could, ranging from small gestures such as holding the door for someone else or joining a school club (Thai Kids) to raise money so that students in rural parts of Thailand could attend school. 

So, when an opportunity came up to help underprivileged students in Nairobi, I took advantage of it. Doing so will allow me to positively impact the lives of a number of students. 

I specifically chose to raise money for their soccer team and for a basketball court due to my interest in and love for sports. I wanted to give an opportunity for the students there to enjoy something that I did and loved growing up. 

3. What was a challenge and how did you overcome it?

Initially, I was relatively unsuccessful due to not reaching out to people directly and being passive when raising money. I made different social media accounts and websites, and thought a small presence on social media would miraculously raise enough money. This was clearly not the case and I ended up raising a mere 2% of my final goal. 

I learned from this failure and decided to step out of my comfort zone. I changed my approach so that I asked people directly such as by going to them in person. Due to my direct approach, people were more willing to donate and this led to the completion of the basketball court. 

4. What impact does your project have on the local/international community?

The children in the area generally have limited access to resources due to a number of factors but in particular, poverty. School is a way for them to escape any problems they may face at home and in their neighborhood. So, providing them with something to do such as basketball allows them to try a sport they may not have been familiar with and potentially build a new hobby. 

Furthermore, it would allow them to gain soft skills that they otherwise might not have and exercise which could improve their academic performance. 

5. What is your message to the community?

I would encourage others to help those in need when possible, as it is rewarding to see the positive impact you can have in different areas. I would also like to thank all the donors, as without their donations, this project would not have come to fruition.