Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit June 11, 2012 - 5:32 am

Young Iqaluit man wants to help build school in Nicaragua

Education a human right, Nuqinga Joey Korgak says

SAMANTHA DAWSON
Nuqinga Joey Korgak of Iqaluit plans to travel to Nicaragua next month to build a school. Right now he’s fundraising to help defray his expenses. (PHOTO BY SAMANTHA DAWSON)
Nuqinga Joey Korgak of Iqaluit plans to travel to Nicaragua next month to build a school. Right now he’s fundraising to help defray his expenses. (PHOTO BY SAMANTHA DAWSON)

Nuqinga Joey Korgak of Iqaluit witnessed people living in poverty on two dollars a day in Nicaragua, who still have a desire to go to school.

That’s why Korgak, 25, who works in the Nunavut Department of Justice as a senior public trustees officer, wants to return to the Central American country from July 19 to 28 to help build a school near the city of Leon.

“Education is a basic human right for everyone,” he said.

And in Nicaragua the only education people can get is if they go to its main cities of Managua or Granada.

“Down in Nicaragua they’re fighting for their education, they want their education [and] they do want to go to school,” said Korgak, who hopes to rally support for his trip with the Indigenous Youth Empowering Students program of the Canadian charity SchoolBOX Inc..

Nicaragua has a ways to go, Korgak said.

“Our people fought for our land, yes, that wasn’t easy, but in Nicaragua, for those people, for the indigenous people, you can’t even do that.”

Korgak said the people he will work with saw their rivers poisoned during the 1970s in an attempt to displace them. 

While in Nicaragua, Korgak will also talk to people about how Inuit lived a couple hundred years ago, he said. “I will be presenting about my heritage and culture.”

And he will work alongside teachers, students and community leaders to build the school.

In 2010 Korgak visited the country with another organization, Pronica, to talk about the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement.

“We went down to educate the indigenous people there about our Inuit history and also the land claims agreement,” he said.

The people he met were surprised about the rights this agreement gives Nunavut Inuit.

“If they tried to fight for their land there would be some consequences, they’d probably be killed,” Korgak said.

This trip will be different because there will be less travelling around, because Korgak will stay in one community in a residence with other participants in the same program.

“I will get to know those people more than I got to know other people in Nicaragua when I was there in 2010,” he said.

But in order to go, Korgak still needs to raise $1,000 for the program, and another $2,800 for the airfare — the biggest expense being the round-trip from Iqaluit to Ottawa.

To fundraise, Korgak plans to hold bake and rummage sales. He’s asked Northmart to donate baking supplies, and he’s also looking for sponsorship, individual donations and coin collections to offset the costs.

His family is being supportive of his efforts, but Korgak’s mother does get nervous.

“She knows that I love to travel and she knows that I’m also dedicated to helping other people out too,” he said.

When he gets back, Korgak will do a few presentations to youth in Iqaluit about his experiences. The first one will be in September to the Grade 12 students at the Inuksuk High School, and another one at the Iqaluit youth centre.

Korgak is asking those interested in helping him fundraise to call (867) 975-6344 or find him on Facebook.

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