Archive for the ‘Rolemodels’ Category

Woman Re-Mortagages Her House To Feed School Kids

June 13, 2011

How about this for a story of selflessness and generosity.

A businesswoman in east London re-mortagaged her home to establish a breakfast club after learning that one-fourth of Britain’s primary pupils were too hungry to learn.

Today, Carmel McConnell’s breakfast club – Magic Breakfast – feeds 6,000 chidren every day, Daily Express reported.

At 200 of the most deprived schools, Magic Breakfast gives children a healthy start of juice, bagels and cereal or toast for just 23 pence, with many often having not eaten since the previous school lunch.

Carmel said: ‘My work was advising big business on building trusted brands. I ended up going into schools to research a book on corporate activism and found that many of the teachers were having a whip-round and bringing food into school each morning so they could give their pupils something to eat.

‘Without food, the youngsters are unable to concentrate, behave properly or to learn. I immediately bought a whole load of loaves and dropped them off at our local schools in Hackney (in east London) where the teachers had expressed a real need.

‘I then re-mortgaged the house when I realised just how widespread this problem was and how little it would take to put it right.’

Valerie Figaro, head of Randall Cremer Primary School, east London, said Magic Breakfast transformed the lives of many of her pupils.

‘When children get up they won’t have eaten for 10 to 12 hours and we are asking them to expend energy by using their brains without any fuel,’ said Figaro.

Carmel, who draws support from large corporations, hopes to advise schools on raising funds themselves for breakfast clubs.

I love stories about the unsung heroes of education.  Ms. McConnell can be contacted at

The Perfect Example of Courage and Self-Respect

April 12, 2011

The following is a clip I watched today that literally blew me away.  It is of a Pakistani actress by the name of Veena Malik, who in the face of harsh criticism by cleric, Mufti Abdul Qavi, stands up for herself in a profoundly courageous and inspirational way.  I don’t want to comment on the substance of their heated conversation (I’ll leave that to others).  Instead, I want to focus on the courage, integrity and strength of character displayed by Ms. Malik.

This is not something I can show in the classroom because of cultural sensitivities, but I strongly urge parents to watch this video.  The message that this clip sends to young girls in particular is potentially very powerful.  Here is a woman who refuses to be degraded, dictated to and walked over.  That is exactly the message we should be sending to our youth – be honest, courageous, proud and compassionate, and never let others manipulate, bully or belittle you.

Again I want to stipulate that I am not commenting on the substance of the disagreement between Ms. Malik and the cleric because that is not the purpose of this blog.  This blog is about education, and I can think of no better education for a young impressionable child than to see a model of self-respect, courage and integrity first hand.

Thank you Ms. Malik for standing up not only for yourself but for all people who feel downtrodden and unappreciated!

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