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Harlem rewarded for his toil

Harlem Karaitiana who raised over $1000 for his school’s fun run. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

ELISA VORSTER

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The overwhelming generosity of a community and the determination of an 11-year old boy will see Masterton Intermediate School students getting new computer programmes and sports equipment.

Harlem Karaitiana didn’t stop door knocking in his neighbourhood until he had reached his goal of raising over $1000 for the school.

Every year for the past six years, the school has held a fun run where children are encouraged to seek sponsorship from the community to buy equipment for the school.

The run is about 5km and students can be sponsored either a set amount or by the kilometre.

Masterton Intermediate School students enjoying the fun run on Tuesday.

Last year, the students raised $32,000 and principal Russell Thompson hoped they would achieve a similar figure this year.

“If there’s one student who has gone above and beyond, it’s Harlem Karaitiana who has raised over a $1000 by himself,” he said.

Harlem said the entire amount raised had come from individuals in his community — none of it was from companies or sponsorship deals.

“I just went to people’s houses and knocked on their doors and asked for money,” he said.

He said most people donated between $5 and $20, but Chris Phillips who used to board with the family donated $200.

He said it didn’t take much to convince people to hand over the cash — he simply told them what he was raising the money for.

“They didn’t even say no, everyone just said yes.”

His mum, Bex Haynes, who teaches at the school, went along with him on the five nights it took to collect the money and helped him get the coins collected exchanged for $100 bills at the bank.

She was surprised at how “generous and friendly” everyone had been and said people had really taken an interest in what Harlem had to say.

“One elderly lady didn’t have money on the first night we were there, and she begged him to come back the next night, so she could give him money,” she said.

Because the fundraiser is sponsored by Adidas and Everydayhero, the students can select prizes from various categories depending on how much money they raised.

Harlem was determined to reach $1000 so he could claim his coveted prize — a hoverboard.

There was the added incentive of beating his sister, a former student of the school who had previously raised around $800.

The fun run which was held on Tuesday, saw students dressed in various costumes running through obstacles, jumping over hay bales and being squirted by teachers armed with water guns.

 

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