This is a 3-5:6 Exchange, in which schools in the developed countries are twined /partnered with Ugandan schools and together implement a pen-pal project for a minimum of 3 – 5 year that runs through the following core 6 elements:-
- Elementary Diplomacy – By engaging children in pen-pal connections and global program goal setting, we inspire them for a peaceful world.
- Language Support – By allowing children to exchanging letters, we strengthen their English writing and reading skills.
- Cultural Immersion – Presenting and teaching cultural diversity beyond classrooms exchange of letters, drawings and videos.
- Digital Connections – Help children to use internet (e-mails – exchange of scanned letters and pre-recorded videos, and live video meetings) in friendship, program planning, and leadership, etc
- Educational Support – Help children learn about different cultures/ countries, project planning, fundraising (and donation drives), mentoring for improving the quality of education.
- Elementary Philanthropy – Inspire children at an early age to starting promoting the welfare of others through fundraising and donations.
This program provides participating children in developed countries with chance to learn about Uganda and the challenges faced by the Ugandan people, especially children. The learning themes (and the letters to be exchanged) should be tied to the components of the common core or particular curriculum allowing the children in developed countries understand the differences and impacts of access to conducive child-friendly learning environment both locally and internationally, what changes in their daily lives they can make to help the cause, and how to fundraise towards improving the quality education for their new pen-pals in Uganda.
Through this, PARC hopes to promote understanding of the global and cross-cultural issues, and ensure creation of a shared global learning environment – what we call ‘One World Classroom’, which brings education ‘outside the classrooms’.
THE PROBLEM TO SOLVE
In both developed and developing countries, many underprivileged children have only few outlets for creativity and self-expression. In addition, they hardly ever get the chance to directly interact with – and support peers from other cultural backgrounds.
In Uganda, the decades of political conflicts kept many people from going to school, and reinforced the cycle of poverty. Also, the introduction of ‘Universal Education policy’ in 2007 lead to school population expulsion that translated into over-crowded classrooms, high student-to-teacher ratios, and acute lack of facilities. Worst still, the government has phased out allocation of text-books and funding to public schools. In Uganda, it is well known that “universal access to education” does not mean free education, – while Uganda has a universal education policy, making public schools free for all children, the cost of education is still extremely high and few households can afford to send their children to schools. The parents are required to pay uniform including shoes, school supplies (books, pens, pencils, school bags, etc), development fund, and school meals, which their parents and or caretakers cannot afford.
We connect schools from different countries and foster global connections among-st children across the globe. Interested schools (and /or class) in a developed country is linked or twined with a partner school or class in a developing country, particularly Uganda and they together establish a pen-pal project for their children (plus teachers and parents).
Upon getting expression of interest from schools in developed countries, PARC identifies a match or partner school in Uganda, and we do basic introduction of the program, how it works, and expectation sharing. On agreement for participation is reach, PARC coordinates with the contact teachers such that there is communication on a regular basis through letters or video communication, and have interested students in each partner school or class is matched with a pen-pal.
WHY TWIN SCHOOLS GLOBALLY?
The concept is to get education ‘Outside The Classroom Practices’ and beyond individual volunteering experiences to integrate specific learning processes, like interpersonal reflection and critical thinking. Most importantly, it give children a voice in creating change, the experience of working collaboratively to affect change, and a deeper understanding of themselves and others; generating a 4-way traffic in terms of cultural exchange, technology access, educational enhancement, and international development.
Beyond this, partner schools/ children will come up with projects based on what is happening locally and globally – they learn about an issue that is affecting the world, talk about the feelings that they would be experiencing in a similar situation, foster empathy for those affected, and then come up with an idea for how they can help.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Participation is ‘Free of Charge’ but, we do expect schools in developed countries to raise funds to support in their twinned schools in Uganda. Any interested school or class (be it kindergarten school, elementary school, high school and /or colleges and universities level.
While the program is probably best suited to children, PARC believes that students at all levels would enjoy learning about Uganda and Africa, a new culture, and social justice at a global level. To this, therefore, teachers in colleges and universities (working with adult students) may consider pairing with younger students in Uganda to use the project as a “buddy” activity.
HOW LONG CAN A SCHOOL PARTICIPATE?
Any form of partnership is really impactful when it becomes a long-term project. For this reason, we ask interested schools to commit for at least 3-5 years. This does not mean that, thereafter, the partnership is interrupted, but the partnership agreement will be reviewed – basing on the progress with regard to the pre-set goals
Participation is voluntary, and a school / class can decide to terminate the partnership. However, under normal situations, we request partner schools to talk about ending their partnership at-least 6 months before you can withdraw. This will help us to explore any other opportunities for schools out there proposing to participate in this program to be matched with the school to fill the gap!.