Canadian Teacher Wins $1M Prize For Her Work In A Fly-In-Only Village In The Arctic

March 20, 2017

A Canadian who teaches at a school in a fly-in-only village in the Arctic has won a $1 million Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony in Dubai.

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Photo credit: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

Maggie MacDonnell, praised for "changing the lives of her students and transforming her community", was among 10 finalists chosen from 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries.

She has taught for the past six years in the Inuit village of Salluit, Québec, in the Canadian Arctic, which is so remote that it's only accessible by air.

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Changing the community

MacDonnell's approach focuses on emphasizing "acts of kindness."

As a teacher, she helped set up a fitness center, a community kitchen and a second-hand store that benefited not only her students but also the general population.

MacDonnell has also created a life-skills program specifically for girls in a region where teenage pregnancies are common.

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Photo credit: Marika Wheeler/CBC

MacDonnell, who has also been a temporary foster parent in the Inuit community, was handed the award at a ceremony on Sunday.

MacDonnell told CBC News she plans to use the prize money to help "reawaken a love for the land" among Inuit youth with an environmental stewardship project.

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