A project that originated at Abbotsford’s Eugene Reimer Middle School is set to expand its reach.
The Equity Backpack Project, which began earlier this year, has seen 60 Grade 6 students from ERMS create their own backpacks out of cardboard.
The backpacks were decorated with students’ promises to themselves and the world and tell classmates their own story. The aim of the project was to teach students about equity, inclusion and racism.
ERMS teacher Nerlap Sidhu led the project and said the main goal for the project was to make sure no child feels left out.
“Inclusion and equity are important for students to learn explicitly about so students develop a strong sense of self and an appreciation for one’s own history, language and roots,” she said.
“Then students can start to discuss how they see their world and their place in it. It gives students hope, voice and confidence in telling their own story – lived experiences – while feeling empathy for each other’s stories and life experiences.”
The success of the project has been noticed, and its growth was highlighted at the Abbotsford School District’s public board meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 16). It was noted that 18 schools in Abbotsford are all jumping on board with the program, and 33 schools from across B.C. have also adopted the program.
ERMS principal Ian Levings said the ultimate goal is to create a province-wide anti-racist educator network. He also shared that on Feb. 24’s Pro-D day, officials from ERMS will be working with educators across the province to discuss how to expand the project.