The kid who cares
Ten-year-old Brandon Malarkey insists that because he is not high up in the Nigerian government, he doesn’t have an impact on what goes on there. And at first glance, you may agree that he is just a typical rowdy and curious sixth-grade boy. But through BEEP4Kids (the BEEP stands for Brandon’s Educational Equality Program), a project he created about a year ago while in fourth grade, the McManus Elementary student collects educational supplies for children in underprivileged schools in the African nation. Recently, Dele Agebeyo, Brandon’s contact in Nigeria, safely received donations totaling 125 pounds for St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary Nursery School in Usi. The individual packages Brandon put together for each student will be presented to them on July 10.
What inspired you to create BEEP4Kids?
I saw documentaries at school about how kids had to do schoolwork on the dirt floor and walk one mile to find a place to sleep at night. I wanted to do something to help them. So I asked my mom, “Do you know anyone in Africa that’s trustworthy?” She knew someone that she works with, and we ship the supplies to him and then he delivers it to the school.
What are some reactions you’ve heard from the donation recipients?
I wrote them a letter with the first package I sent, and only one girl out of the 547 children could read it, and then she read it to everyone. They wrote me a letter back saying thank you and God bless. The girls at the school did a tribal dance, and they said they wanted me to come play with them.
Do you receive donations for BEEP4Kids?
Yes, from all over the world, from South Korea, California, New York, Connecticut and lots of places. Every donation helps, even if it’s just a small thing, because it’s still going to help one kid.
Have you been to visit the schools?
No, but I’ve been dreaming to go over to Africa. That’s the place I really want to go on vacation and collect coins.
How do you think you have affected the lives of the children in Nigeria?
I think the supplies have gotten to the brighter side of the kids and made them think, “Wow, I never thought someone in America would do that for me.” I hope it makes them realize that if they want to be a soccer player or something that they need to get a good education, too.
How has the project affected you?
Since helping them, it’s gotten to the brighter side of me, too. In third grade when I saw the documentaries, I was like, “Well, that sucks. I’m glad it’s not like that over here.” But now that I’m older, I thought, “I could really help these kids.” I also get better grades now. I get straight A’s. Well, maybe one B.