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The evil left behind

Arviat students saddened by horror stories from abroad

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Arviat (Apr 09/03) - Grade 11 and 12 students at Qitiqliq high school in Arviat had an eye-opening experience concerning the horrors of war.

About 25 students attended a two-day workshop on land mines presented by Noelle DePape and Farrah Fulton from the Canadian Red Cross' Youth Land Mine Action Ambassador program in Winnipeg this past month.

The workshop was an opportunity for the students to explore humanitarian issues, be engaged in discussion and active learning, and feel part of a larger global community.

Teacher Cheryl Wilson said the workshop came about through school counsellor Ashok Athavale's contacts in the South.

She said the students felt a genuine sense of sadness, at the time, for what happens in other parts of the world.

"The biggest benefit to them was that the workshop expanded their perspective and world view," said Wilson.

"It allowed them to look beyond Nunavut and Canadian politics.

"They began to realize the reality of some people living in developing countries."

Grade 12 student Maria Illungiayok said she was totally in the dark about land mines and what they are used for before the workshop.

When she first heard about the event, she thought it was going to deal with gold or diamond mines.

Once it began, she realized there was nothing valuable about these mines.

"Once I understood what they were and what they were doing to people, the first thing I thought about was how happy and lucky I am to live here," said Illungiayok.

One simulation game played by the students (Bafa, Bafa) was designed to help them understand the issues being explored.

The game also gave them a better understanding of how problems are created when people don't take the time to understand different cultures, languages and mannerisms.

DePape and Fulton also delivered an evening session to the community.

Athavale said a certificate of thanks for community participation was presented to Joe Karetak during the gathering.

"We owe thanks to teacher Danette Rookes and Lynne Rollin and her crew from the Catholic Church for billeting the presenters," said Athavale.

"Inn's North also deserves recognition for providing meals during their stay and Joe (Karetak) and other members from the Department of Education who attended the evening session."