Visiting our project partners in Mulajje, Uganda

Teddy Mwonyonyi (centre) with some of  the students at St. Bonaventure Mulajje School, Uganda that her school in Cleveland, OH has partnered with for the past four years.

This week we have a guest posting from iEARN educator Teddy Mwonyonyi. Teddy is currently in Uganda visiting her family and spending time at the school her classroom back in Cleveland, Ohio has been learning with for a few years now:

Carl & Louis Stokes Central Academy in Cleveland, Ohio has been collaborating with St. Bonaventure Mulajje School in Uganda for four years.  During the school year the two schools have been communicating through postal mail and once we tele-conferenced. The students have been receiving letters from each other twice a year asking  questions; answering each other and talking about school life most of the time.

It was during their exchanges they learned about each others environmental concerns. When my Cleveland students learned that their friends in Uganda had no safe water for daily use they decided to take action. The Green Team from the Cleveland school brought awareness to the Cleveland community for the need to have fresh water at St. Bonaventure after hearing that their friends had to walk miles to get water needed to cook and drink twice everyday. The Green Team has participated in the World Water Day for the past three years and engaged the Cleveland community in a fundraising campaign that resulted in enough money to dig a borehole at St. Bonaventure. The organization Drink Local Drink Tap visited the St. Bonaventure School with me last summer to lay the ground work and came back again this summer to complete the task. Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District supported my class to carry out the water project locally and also presented it to the Ohio Youth for Justice Summit and was recognized “Outstanding” two years in a row. The borehole was completed this summer!

This act of kindness and concern has changed the whole Mulajje village where the school is located and the lives of 700 students will never be the same. While I’m here on a summer holiday visiting my family, I also brought with me donated eBooks (and a PC to follow) from the Inspired Educators Company, GA for the students at St. Bonaventure School. I am training the headmaster and one teacher how to use this online material with a computer from the Parish. I have showed them how to access the Internet and also opened e-mail accounts for the school and the Headmaster. We are continuing the relationship between the two schools.

For their part, the Ugandan students along the way have said they are learning about different problems and solutions to environmental protection. From here they have been able to discuss and evaluate the factors that impact negative environmental practices in Uganda. It’s wonderful to hear that young people feel they can work together in small ways to protect the environment.

My students have learned that even though they are miles apart, with different customs, cultural experiences, and language, people in general, and teens in particular, have dreams and hopes for a better life regardless of where they live.

Now that St. Bonaventure will have access to a computer, we will e-mail more and create/send media between classrooms. Since I will teach at a STEM high school next year, I am adding the 9th graders to the project. There is an idea of making hand crafted mats for the school but the logistics of mailing has to be worked out.”

A powerful example of lasting online global collaboration. Thank you Teddy!

If you like to learn more about the project or contact Teddy, visit the iEARN Teacher’s forum.

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