Rupi Kanda-Rajwan has entered the race for the Abbotsford board of education. (Submitted photo)

Rupi Kanda-Rajwan has entered the race for the Abbotsford board of education. (Submitted photo)

Rupi Kanda-Rajwan announces candidacy for Abbotsford school trustee

New candidate enters race with hands-on experience, knowledge focused on education

Rupi Kanda-Rajwan has entered the race for Abbotsford school trustee.

Kanda-Rajwan is a former daycare owner/operator with a passion for community involvement and youth development. Holding a bachelor of arts degree in child and youth care from the University of the Fraser Valley, as well as a master’s degree in education from the University of British Columbia, she currently teaches early childhood education at Northern Lights College.

Complementing her extensive scholarly pursuit is Kanda-Rajwan’s vast experience in the field of education, having held multiple roles in the public, private, and non-profit realms. Before opening her daycare Little Buddies, she worked in preschools, daycares, and day camps as a social worker and educational assistant. Kanda-Rajwan believes her varied record will play a key role in her preparedness for the school trustee position.

“I’m an advocate for the community who’s invested in the infrastructure of the next generation,” she said. “I will persist in my efforts to create a safer environment for our schools by fostering open dialogue with our students at a much earlier age. They need to learn the effects of guns, drugs, and violence before it’s too late. My focus is communication, conversation, and collaboration.”

She is also active in the community.

Having heard the expression “if your feet are cold, your whole body is cold” in 2007, Kanda-Rajwan established her organization Cozy Covers that same year, holding her annual event at Willow View Farms for many years. What began as merely an avenue for sock donations has exploded into over 16,000 clothing items of all types and over $19,000 being donated to the cause since its inception. The event went national in 2019, adding the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan to join B.C. in its efforts.

When COVID made it impossible to physically gather for the event in 2020, Kanda-Rajwan was determined to keep the momentum going with her first online fundraiser “Virtually Connecting Our Community.” By leveraging her social media platforms and influence, the prolific fundraiser collected over $19,000 that year alone to help those in need. The organizations that have worked with Kanda-Rajwan include Warm Zone, Cyrus Centre, Ministries 5 and 2, Best for Babies, Abby Dads and Sara for Women, to name a few.

Despite keeping a busy schedule as a mother of three, Kanda-Rajwan has organized countless fundraisers for her children’s sports teams, raising over $10,000 in total for their baseball, softball, and hockey teams from local businesses and community members. The funds covered team gear, tournament participation, year-end parties, and awards. In May of 2022, she organized a drive-thru bottle drive for a secondary refill station at her son’s school, raising $900 in a few short hours.

“It’s vital to create opportunities that are relatable, practical, and attainable for students to realize their full potential,” Kanda-Rajwan said. “Some of our schools lack gyms, and music time, which hinders well-rounded development. Recognizing its benefits, we spend ample time offering music to babies and young children. Let’s bring music back to all our schools.”

Kanda-Rajwan’s top focus areas are community involvement and collaboration, school safety, early childhood development, and better athletic facilities.

“We must offer equal and balanced opportunities for the children of Abbotsford,” she said.

For more information on her campaign, visit rupikandarajwan.ca.

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