YOUNG LEADER - Claire Welikoklad, a student at Notre Dame High School in Red Deer, recently received the Humanitarian Service Award Scholarship from A Better World, for her humanitarian work in Kenya and Rwanda. Photo Submitted

Notre Dame student receives humanitarian award

Claire Welikoklad received the humanitarian award for her humanitarian work in Kenya and Rwanda

Claire Welikoklad, a student at Notre Dame High School in Red Deer, recently received the Humanitarian Service Award Scholarship from A Better World, for her humanitarian work in Kenya and Rwanda.

“I was very shocked that I got it,” she said. “I didn’t expect that I would get the scholarship. I was really excited and ecstatic about getting it because it is kind of a big accomplishment.”

Welikoklad, who documented her experience and submitted it to A Better World, said that her experiences in Africa changed the way she views the world.

“Going to Kenya and Rwanda is obviously extremely different than living in Red Deer. It was life-changing because a lot of people don’t have the chance to see the things that happen,” she said.

Arriving in Africa, Welikoklad was expecting people’s attitudes to represent the difficult conditions that are often how the African continent is portrayed. This was not the case.

“You wouldn’t expect people living in such poor conditions to be always excited about getting up in the morning. They were always happy and well-dressed. They always had a smile on their faces and it was fun to see all the people,” she said.

During her time overseas, Welikoklad visited many schools throughout Kenya and Rwanda, which gave her the opportunity to interact with African students who were eager to learn about her life in Canada.

“I made booklets that had Canadian wildlife and pictures of lakes and mountains,” she said.

“We would go to the classrooms and show the kids the booklets and talk about the names of the animals and what they eat. The teachers got to keep the booklets at the end.”

The students would ask her about Canada and were excited to show her around their schools, many of which were recently built. Welikoklad was humbled by the experience.

“I am definitely way more grateful about everything I have after seeing how little they have. They are grateful for everything they have even if it is just a pair of shoes,” she said.

This humility has led to Welikoklad seeing western culture as a little decadent in comparison.

“You think about your school compared to the schools there,” she said. “We have technology and computers and it made me think that we don’t need all the stuff that we have.

“Other places could be way better off if they had some of the stuff that we have.”

Welikoklad said she would love to go back to Africa again.

“It was fun to be able to tell people when I got back how the experience changed my life and hopefully other people will want to go or donate to the people,” she said.

She added she is unsure what she intends to do after high school, however, she is confident the scholarship will go towards a post-secondary education.

Like us on facebook at follow us on twitter at

Just Posted

Eco-Living Fair brings sustainability home

ReThink Red Deer hosts 8th annual environmentally conscious event

Pursuit with rogue semi ends in arrest

RCMP chased a stolen semi tractor from Red Deer to Airdrie

Red Deer College students host event for survivors of sexual assault

Take Back the Night aims to ‘shatter the silence and stop the violence’

City responds to this year’s provincial budget

Local health and social infrastructure needs not met, officials say

University of Calgary and RDC partner for new collaborative degree

Bachelor of Science in Psychology program launches in Red Deer

WATCH: Red Deer Roller Derby Jr. Invitational is a big smash

Nuclear Free League hosts third competition for skaters around Alberta

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Embattled band Hedley plays last show before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at B.C. venue

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old won the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Calgary police investigate man posing as Calgary firefighter

Calgary police are looking for information on a suspect who stole a firefighter’s ID

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Bashaw RCMP arrest man wanted in several crimes

Variety of criminal charges, including vehicle theft, facing-29-year-old man caught in Alix

Valuable rings stolen out of car in Thorsby Mar. 22

Thorsby/Breton RCMP seek to recover special stolen items

Most Read