Around this time last year, windows decorated with rainbows and the “ça va bien aller” slogan, showing support for health-care workers, were common in Montreal.
As the COVID-19 pandemic dragged on, though, an elementary school student from Dollard-des-Ormeaux noticed she has been seeing fewer and fewer rainbows.
“I realized that not as many people put up rainbows anymore on their windows like they used to when the coronavirus was new,” remarked 11-year-old Prisha Patel, a Grade 5 student at Westpark Elementary School.
She says she has a lot of health-care workers in her family, and didn’t think it was right people weren’t showing support anymore.
“They put their lives at risk to just save us, and we aren’t showing how much we care for them. It made me really upset,” she told Global News.
Her friends noticed, too.
“It made me feel pretty sad because it was just like no one cares anymore,” remarked 10-year-old Sydney Loeb.
Along with Loeb and their friend Grace Coorsh (11), Prisha went to see her teacher with the idea of “bringing back the rainbows” to benefit a cause close to her.
“I brought two of my closest friends with me,” Prisha recounted, “We’ve been friends for a very long time, and I knew I can trust them.”
Their teacher, Natasha Niunka, was amazed at the girls’ initiative, and immediately began helping them launch the fundraiser.
“They decided to put together a fundraiser where they would ask for students to bring a donation of two dollars or more, and the school would decorate the windows, the classrooms, and the doors with rainbows to raise awareness, bring a sense of community and to raise money for the Lakeshore hospital,” said Niunka.
Before getting their initiative off the ground, they had to the green light from higher up.
“They presented to the parents and staff on our governing board and they got permission and we went forward from there,” said Niunka.
“We were blown away their their community thinking, their creativity,” said Westpark Elementary principal Michael Rabinovitch.
After that, it was just a matter of collecting the funds and putting up rainbows. Their energy quickly spread throughout the school, with classrooms all over getting involved.
“That made us feel really happy when we saw all of them putting the rainbows up on the windows,” said Grace Coorsh.
When all was said and done, they had raised over $1,200 for Lakeshore General Hospital.
“It made me feel more happier than before,” said Prisha.
“It makes me feel happy that I’m making a difference in the community,” said Coorsh.
The Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation wrote on Facebook that it appreciates the girls’ help, and invited them to continue shining and inspiring the community.