Captain America derives his superpowers from a special serum. But for everyday heroes, the kind who don’t grace the big screen but still make a big difference in the lives of others, it’s most often education that empowers them.
In celebration of the release of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the spirit of heroism, Skype and our employees have raised funds to give a 10-year-old Ugandan orphan named Kasiita Ben the educational tools to become an everyday hero himself.
But Ben did not come to Skype’s attention on his own. Students at George Street Middle School in New Brunswick, Canada, have long been meeting with Ben and other Ugandan children over Skype as part of CHAT to the Future, a Skype in the classroom partner. CHAT is an NGO that pays for rent, necessities, and school fees for 17 orphans rescued from poverty and illiteracy in Kampala, Uganda. Students in over 40 North American schools use Skype to establish meaningful relationships with their Ugandan friends, and entrepreneurialism to fully fund their living and learning needs.
In reward for their own heroic fundraising work, Marvel and Skype treated George Street students to a special screening of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As an extra special surprise they also got to chat with the movie’s stars as they arrived on the red carpet including Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie.
Then Mackie (who plays Falcon in the movie) broke the good news to the students over Skype that young Ben would receive the funding for a full scholarship to Makerere University.
Ben has even exhibited Captain America-esque heroism by overcoming a difficult home life and has become a shining role model to his peers. Now, he will get the chance to attend university – a dream that once seemed unattainable. CHAT founder and Executive Director, Adam McKim says, “A full scholarship to Makere University is a truly special gift. Lifting up our Ugandan neighbors so that they may one day lift up others is central to our work.”
In a twist of fate, Adam also tells us that Ben is in many ways just like Captain America:
1. Ben was the elected “Head Boy” at CHAT House school in Uganda, despite the fact that he is only 10 years old. Captain America is the leader of the Avengers; Ben is leader of the boys at CHAT House. Pretty much the same thing, right? Next stop: saving the world.
2. Just like Captain America, Ben came from very little but refused to give up. Ben lost his mother when he was five. Even though Ben started school a couple of years late and started school years later than many of his peers, he. However, he is now excelling as a student, finishing top of his grade for the past two years.
3. Ben is a modest leader. In fact, he is the quietest child at CHAT House. Like Captain America, he doesn’t talk up his accomplishments and leads by example.
4. Ben is fearless on the soccer field. He prefers the pivotal role of keeper, so his team trusts him as the last resort against defeat. And like Captain America with his vibranium alloy shield, Ben is a relentless defender for his team.
5. Both Captain America and Ben are regular people who became heroes over time. Captain America draws power from his serum to save those around him from the forces of evil while Ben is now embarking on his educational journey that will allow him to help others.
Learn more about Skype in the classroom and CHAT to the Future. Find out how you too can create unique and positive experiences for students around the world. Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theatres now.
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