In May of 2005, elections were held in the country of Ethiopia. As a result of those elections, protests occurred. In June and November of that year, Ethiopian government forces killed 193 “protesters”, injured 763, mostly in Addis Ababa, and detained more than 30,000 people.
In August of 2007, Tyson Theriault, a beginning teacher at the time, worked as a counsellor at a teen camp in Nova Scotia where he met a young man by the name of Redeat, who they nicknamed “Red”. Red had travelled to Canada from Ethiopia and moved to Halifax permanently. Upon asking Red “Why Canada?”, he was very honest and said, “Health care”.
Red’s mother had cancer and could not receive the proper treatment in her native country of Ethiopia, so Red’s father moved to Canada, saved up as much money as he could, and a year later flew over the rest of his family.
Shortly after meeting Red, his mother passed away as she received her treatment too late. A month later, Red had a seizure and never woke up. Red had left a lasting impression on Theriault. Red commented about how these generations of young people in Canada were selfish and spoiled, but mostly, completely unaware of not only what life is like elsewhere, but how good they have life in Canada. Red had watched at the age of 14, 2 of his friends get shot during the protests in 2005, simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Since that time, Tyson Theriault has been sharing this story with his World Issues classes. His students have now raised over $50,000 for mosquito nets, wells, and for the children of the CHAT House Orphanage. Now they want to help these kids further realize their potential and dreams, and help them complete their education.