Building bridges among students worldwide
I am a primary school teacher and since 2016 we have a school link with Toucountouna, in Bénin.
With this we work on many curriculum objectives such as: The students can appreciate that the difference of people is interesting.
We live in a time where people struggle with people who are different. Raising children to become world citizens is not only a task for the parents. Also the school can also help with this.
With our school we give the children from the ´Global South´ more than a name. We follow what they do, what they love, what they struggle with. We ask their questions and answer to theirs.
Last year we worked on water. We got pictures on how they handle water. In Belgium we counted how many taps we have at home. The children themselves concluded that we are wasting too much water and that we can learn something from the South. The students then figured out how to limit their water consumption. We post this on our communal blog to close the circle.
However, not everything goes so smoothly. Sometimes there are personnel changes, causing a number of driving forces to disappear.
In 2018, the schools in Bénin went on strike for 5 months, which brought the project to a standstill. And sometimes the answer we get looks different from what we expect. For example, during the theme "party" we showed how a birthday is celebrated. In response we received an explanation of the ritual circumcision in men. The necessary explanation about this was a must.
We also organize exchange visits. In this way, mutual ties are strengthened, which improves motivation and cooperation.
In short, in a world where globalization is ever more present, a school link is a real enrichment. The children are ultimately the adults of tomorrow.
We count on them to make our planet a sustainable society. Every contribution to this is an investment in the future of us all.