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Loudmouth

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Project-furnish and equip a nursery class in a South African township
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I do not believe in coincidences, so I do not know what to make of this. Some of you on myspace know already that my school and in particular, my own nursery class, have been given the massive challenge of furnishing and equiping a nursery in a South africa township, all in the next 4 weeks or so! This is in our partnership school in Durban. My own little ones have been great. We have looked at photos, discussed issues and encouraged honest decision making. Many have gladly given their toys. One little girl, age 5 said "I dont realy want to , but I will" How true is that! My school has some fund raising money to buy larger pieces of furniture and storage units.
Then yesterday out of the blue, I had a phone call at work from another Edinburgh nursery, an NHS one, which is closing down in 2 weeks. Would we like anything? They knew nothing about our Africa efforts and just phone the nearest local authority nursery, which was us. We are going down on tuesday to have a look.
Now, is that coincidence, is it karma, or is someone looking out for us and them? I don't know. but whatever it is, THANK YOU,
Will keep you posted. I am hoping to write some articles on how very young children can be effective global citizens, so they MAY be printed in various journals. They will soon inherit the world and its problems and have a right to know what is happening. It is all about awareness, from an early age.

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I think it is incredible what you are doing.  Not just for the school in Africa but the children at your school, getting them involved and aware already.  It is also amazing what comes your way when you do something like this. How do you cope with the shipping issues involved in this?  I'd be really interested to read about how the children get involved, but not just that all that other issues that surround such a project.  The logistics, how to get hold of things, where did you begin, how did you get paired up with the other school, do the children write to their contemporaries, how is their experience of this?  Sorry for the all the questions, I am just really interested in how it all works

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Loudmouth

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OK Jules, here goes. Hope I don.t bore you all.  The new Curriculum For Excellence , which was rolled out in Scottish schools in recent years, highlights two areas of importance, that of Citizenship and Enterprise. Indeed, we are all inspected on these areas. Part of the citizenship programme is Global citizenship. It is hoped that soon, every or most Scottish schools will be partnered with a school in a third world country. I can only commend "Wee Jack", or our First Minister, as he is really, and the Scottish Executive for that. Our school is James Gillespies Primary, which takes children from 3-12 , before they go on the the secondary school, James Gillespies High School. Our founder was a great philanthropist, a wealthy mill owner, who left his fortune to open a home and school for impoverished boys in the 18 century.
There are , I think 4, possibly, 5 primary schools which feed Gillespies High School.
The High School has been sponsoring a partner High School in the Umlazi Township, Durban for several years. Among other things, they have opened a new library, set up a school dinner fund, ( very important, as it may mean the difference of a child attending school or not),paid for a poor student to attend uni, and lots more. There have been exchange visits from staff and pupils and even the famous Soweto Gospel choir have sung at the school. Why not see for yourself on
http://www.jghs.edin.sch.uk/southafrica/southafrica.html
The school set up in SA is smilar to here, with several primary schools feeding a High school, so the next logical step was for us to be partnered with one of the primaries in the township.We are partnered with the poorest of the 5. It began with exchanging letters, photos and generally making contact. Each class corresponds with their equivelant age group. Last Year, the headteacher from SA visited us for a week. He was a giant of a man, named Freedom, and was of course amazed by what we had. He shadowed our headteacher for a week and spoke to every class. His abiding memory of Scotland was not the weather, but of being treated as an equal. He took home with him chalk, pencils etc and £1000 for his school meal fund, £200 of which was taken from him at Glasgow airport in excess baggage. He phoned the school in tears. Not being an experienced traveller, he had not known what to do. The £200 has since been replaced. Our Parents have been fantastic and lots of fundraisng was done. The High School managed to acquire a shipping container for the knock down price of £5000. -normally £12000. It is being split equally between 5 schools. We asked Freedom what his priority would be, and to his credit, he said his nursery class. Not many heads would say that, but he obviously recognises the value of early intervention and early education. I took a conscoius decision to fully involve our nursery children and they have been fantastic, giving without protest. Well, not entrely true. One or two said they liked all their toys and would noy give any. But that is OK, I told them. They have to make the decision themselves. They are not citizens in waiting, they are citizens now.
So, I will keep you posted. The date for  the shipping keeps being put back. Some of our staff , including one of my nursery staff, hope to go out in October. We will also be training staff on how to use computers with children. The school has lots of computers, but they sit idle, as nobody knows how to use them.



 
 

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Irene, you didn't bore me at all. The background to it all is very interesting. Is this happening all over the UK too? I believe there is some twining of schools - but do most schools do it? The children will learn an enormous amount about all aspects of life, citizenship, maturing etc etc. It is an excellent project.

That was so sad about the headmaster and the money being taken off him in customs. Maybe giving cash isn't the best thing to do in general? Is it possible to get a bank account fund set up which can be accessed by him? It might be safer. I don't know how these things work, but there must be someway. The Red Cross or Oxfam or similar charity might be able to help. Do you have much input from these charities? Do the children get to work with them locally and see how things work at this end? Will you be one of the staff who goes over the SA?  Sorry more questions!

I will be interested to hear the updates.

-- Edited by Jules at 11:57, 2007-02-04

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Loudmouth

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Yes, we learn from our mistakes! Probably giving him cash was not the best thing to do. The thing is there is still corruption over there and how do you make sure the money goes to the right person? It is all so new, we are just taking one step at a time. I think we have had some help and advice from another edinburgh charity, Edinburgh Direct Aid, who have had experience of actually getting stuff out there. Who knows what will happen in the future? They want me to go out, but I am not a good traveller and have a fear of flying. It would be good to let the children see the workings of other charities. As far as I know this is more or less Uk wide. Wouldn't it be great if it was worldwide? We do raise money for local charities as well. Thanks for your interest.

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You won't learn if you don't make mistakes
Oxfam are also experts in transportation and shipping, but it is good to have a local charity on board and be part of that.  Have you flown at all?  Is it completely ruled out?  I'm not frightened of flying, but am a nervous sort of a person so completely appreciate your fears!

It would be wonderful if it was worldwide.  Maybe it should start with Europe...

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Loudmouth

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  I just had to share this lovely story with you. When we were discussing the aid to the nursery with my own class, one five year old said he would give up 10 of his toys. I thought he was just trying to outdo the others and said that was very kind, but one or two would be enough. At the weekend he had been playing quietly in his room, came out to his mum and said "Mum, come and look at this" There on his bed were 10 toys all laid out neatly in a row. He had spent time carefully looking through his toyboxes and selecting 10, which he thought the African children would like. This boy will go far. And to top that, his mum is going to have a coffee morning for us.

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Loudmouth

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RE: Project--furnish and equip a nursery class in a South African township
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From the children in SA to the children in Edinburgh
Nothing is more important than love and love is strengthened by knowledge.  With love comes growth and prosperity.  Love leads to the death of prejudice and conflict. Love conquers all barriers.
Edited-
The visit to the nursery which was closing proved very disappointing. Mostly crap left over. I am not going to patronise people by offering them crap. Still, it was worth a try.
You have made a huge difference in our lives.

-- Edited by Scottie at 17:32, 2007-02-09

-- Edited by Scottie at 08:25, 2007-02-24

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Loudmouth

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RE: Project-furnish and equip a nursery class in a South African township
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Upate 24 February
The shipping crate is arriivng in a couple of weeks. My young pupils have been great in donating toys and support from the parents has been brilliant. Once we have packed the container with toys and furniture, we are going to fill any small spaces with pairs of good quality children's shoes. When the head was over from SA last year he said he actually tells the children not to come to school without shoes in the bad weather. So, a simple pair of shoes could make a difference.
Let you know when it all goes off

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Loudmouth

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Update 13 Mar  There will be a small piece about us in The Scotsman tomorrow. Dont know how small. Possibility of further updates.

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Any links.  Can you scan it in?

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Loudmouth

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Just got some bad news today. Our application for funding to send members of staff to work in the SA school at Easter as been turned down. And our school can't afford it. Will have to put our thinking caps on again. Or rely on someone's generosity. The shipping crate at present has been held up in SA by lots of red tape and paperwork, so goodness knows when it will be released to come here and pick up the stuff. You would think the authorities would want their children to get some good educational equipment. Very frustrating!

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Loudmouth

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At last, at last ,at last!  A shipping crate full of educational resouces, bound for 2 secondary schools and 2 primary schools in the African township of Umlezi, will finally begin its journey next week. After a year facing South African red tape and indifference, the toys, tables, chairs, storage, easels and other essentials will be picked up from 4 South Edinburgh schools and taken to a port, ready to be shipped out. My litle pre schoolers donated so many of their own toys. They are in primary 1 now, but will be so glad it is finally going.
If anyone is speaking to Bob soon, could they tell him it is finally being shipped out. He knows about the project. Thanks.

-- Edited by Scottie at 17:00, 2008-02-08

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Hey, congratulations you must be feeling very proud that it worked out in the end.  I think Bob hit some brick walls with LiveAid, so he'd really understand and it sounds inevitable.  You did well to persevere and get it through.  Some children will have a better life now for it.smile

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Loudmouth

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Thanks Jules. There were times when we thought we would have the stuff forever. The S.A. authorities would not release the crate, as it was in Durban, then they kept moving the goalposts, "nothing new, all second hand, or no clothing whatsoever, even football strips or shoes"
Anyway it will be away soon. We also had our application for funding for staff to go to S.A .turnred down, so will have to raise the money ourselves. I am sure tis can be done too.

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Loudmouth

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A piece from local press on our neighbouring High School's link with S.A.. Our partnership with a primary school in S.A. was inspired by them. Add to their list of achievements- set up school dinner fund, and equip the science lab, among other things. Several senior pupils from Edinburgh are just back fron S.A .and brought us pictures of our partnership school and the nursery class, which my school has recently attempted to furnish.

"African pupils rock Parliament
STUDENTS from a high school in one of South Africa's poorest townships staged an impromptu performance of singing and dancing in the Scottish Parliament's debating chamber.
The group from Zwelinanzi High School in Umlazi, outside Durban, which is twinned with Edinburgh's James Gillespie's High School, were being shown round the Holyrood building by three SNP MSPs.
Other visitors stopped to listen to the music and applauded.
Music teacher Thandiwe Mabuza said: "We are so happy to be here. Our people have been through a lot of trauma and hardship before we came here and we wanted to sing these songs."
The link between James Gillespie's and Zwelinanzi dates back to 2003 and has seen regular pupil exchanges between the schools.
And Zwelinanzi now has a new sports field, a school library and a music room all built from funds raised in Edinburgh.
the visit to Holyrood was hosted by the parliament's youngest MSP, Aileen Campbell. "

Nice to think that the common perception of unruly teenagers is far from the truth.

Cheers Irene


 



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Loudmouth

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Just heard today that the container has arrived at its intended destination. So, hopefully the schoolchildren will soon be enjoying the new equipment. The Head and deputy head of my school's partnership school are coming to Scotland in august, hopefully with some pics. A long time coming, but mission accomplished.

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Saw something the other day that money from Band Aid Trust is going into teaching in Africa.  You could make a good partnership!

Congratulations for getting it all done and getting the equipments across to Africa. 

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Long conversation...

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