OTTAWA -- School supplies were donated to Ottawa newcomers from Africa Wednesday night to encourage and inspire youth.

It was part of an event marking the International Day of the African Child, to bring awareness to the barriers African children face to get quality education.

Helping organize the event was Devlin Hera Taillon, a young man whose roots are in Kenya.

“Hera stands for love and that is my middle name,” said Taillon, who was born in Asembo Bay, Kenya and adopted by Peggy Taillon 14 years ago.

Hera is also the name of their foundation dedicated to improving lives in Asembo Bay. But they’re also doing what they can to help those here in Ottawa.

“We’re really touched by the family in these buildings mainly newcomers in Africa,” said Peggy Taillon. “Many are struggling starting their life in canada, especially during a pandemic.”

On Wednesday, with help from other local organizations, they donated school supplies, toys and clothing.

The event in Ottawa coincided with other communities around the globe through Giants of Africa.

International Day of the African Child

“Education happens in many different forms and many different ways,” said Jamma Mahlalela with Giants of Africa, who is also an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors.

He added not many people know about the day, but he’s hoping that can change by inspiring the next generation and remove barriers African children face to get quality education.

“We are learning and growing and building together,” said Mahlalela. 

Taillon, 14 has a strong love for basketball and hopes to play professionally and be a leader in his community. 

“I want to change the lives of many people back at home,” he said, “and make a positive difference in the world.”