Hilltop Country Day School, New Jersey

Children at Hilltop Country Day School enjoying fundraising for APOPO's HeroRATs

Loren Kleinman, Hilltop Country Day School

Loren works for Hilltop Country Day School in New Jersey and found out about APOPO and our HeroRATs through the head of the school. Loren and the class’ decision to fundraise for APOPO was driven by their belief in the organization’s mission to create a better world by saving lives through the training of animals to clear landmines and combat tuberculosis. 

The class at Hilltop Country Day School decided to adopt a HeroRAT named Ronin. Ronin’s remarkable abilities in detecting landmines and clearing over 100,000m2 of land since starting work in Cambodia in 2021, truly captivated the entire class! 

In addition to Ronin’s adoption, the class integrated the HeroRAT into their Life Science curriculum at Hilltop. As part of their novel study, at the time centred on “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, they had been exploring the broader implications of animals in our lives. 

The class’ study included reviewing the HeroRAT adoption welcome packet and generating questions for a live stream Q&A with the APOPO team. 

Each student formulated one question about Ronin’s training, eating habits, landmine and TB detection, and why rats are used for this kind of work. Following the livestream with APOPO, students were tasked with creating a Ronin FAQ guide, designing a bulletin board outside the classroom, and constructing a cardboard and recycled-material home and training site for Ronin. 

Since Ronin couldn’t be physically present, the class acquired a stuffed animal version of him and named it Ronin, he became the classroom mascot! Students even took turns bringing Ronin home, documenting his stay through photography, and rotating the photos on our bulletin board. The final phase of our project involved students preparing a presentation about Ronin and inviting lower school students to our classroom to learn about Ronin and see his home.

With all of this amazing work, Loren even connected their study of Ronin to the larger themes in “Charlotte’s Web,” such as death and animal communication. In both the book and Ronin’s daily work, we observe animals and people dealing with death daily. However, we also witness the positive outcomes when animals and people collaborate to reduce unnecessary deaths, as seen in Ronin’s case. Additionally, we explored how our relationships with animals are essential to our environment and well-being.

Loren says: 

It was simple to adopt a HeroRAT, and we were able to easily connect with APOPO’s education program. I highly recommend fundraising for APOPO due to their reliability and commitment to partnering with donors. Donors are not just contributing financially; they are actively participating in helping people worldwide. APOPO’s fundraising team maintains close engagement with their donors, supporting education about APOPO in the classroom and the broader significance of how animals can contribute to health and community well-being.

Children learning about the HeroRATs through APOPO's educational outreach program

Through Hilltop Country DaySchool’s fundraising efforts forAPOPO, the school became a vital part of the effort to detect and remove landmines and combat diseases, particularly in the post-war scenarios that often affectchildren, especially by adoptingHeroRAT, Ronin.

Thank you so much Grade 4 and Loren for also raising awareness of APOPO’s work – we couldn’t do what we do without support like yours! 

If you would like to fundraise for APOPO, please fill out this form.

With your support, we can clear landmines, detect tuberculosis, and save lives. You can donate monthly, yearly, or one single time.

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