“If we want to make the world a better place, it is up to us to make it happen” – KGS pupil Craig Morris.
S2 pupils from Kirkwall Grammar School are reaching out to the wider community in Orkney to help reduce poverty and inequality for counterparts in schools in Pakistan and Nepal - as part of a unique global education programme, Connecting Classrooms.
Three businesses in the county – Sclaters, Town Barbers and the Co-operative stores in Kirkwall - have offered to assist as collecting points for educational materials and tech such as phones, iPads, tablets and laptops and now the pupils are asking folk in Orkney for donations. If any other businesses are interested in participating, they are asked to contact Kirkwall Grammar School.
Theo Ogbhemhe KGS Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies Teacher explained that they have been learning about several of the programme’s “Global Goals”.
“We have really enjoyed approaching these issues from a social justice perspective - from the perspective of fairness as it manifests in society- fairness in education, healthcare, employment, housing, and more).
“My S2 classes have come to a decision on the projects to carry out; practical solutions to continue to make the Goals happen, in order to help improve how we all live our lives, and make the world a fairer and safer place for everyone to live in. Everyone deserves to live with the basic things they need – fresh water, clean air, food, a quality education, healthcare.
“We are also looking at setting up a GoFundMe page for community donations – more details will be available on this in due course.”
The projects include:
- Educational Materials Project - collection boxes for pens, pencils, rubbers etc will be placed at Sclaters, Town Barbers and the Co-operative (both Kirkwall stores).
- School Uniforms/Sandals Project - £20 will purchase a uniform and sandals per pupil.
- Tech (phones, iPad, tablets, laptops) /Wi-Fi Project - donations are being sought from the local community. Devices must be reverted to factory settings. Sclaters, Town Barbers and the Co-operative stores in Kirkwall will be collection points.
- Widows Empowerment Project -£30 sets up a widow in business helping to reduce inequalities and poverty. And onwards help to pay school fees for their children.
- Climate Awareness project - helping to save the planet/reducing poverty and inequalities as a result.
Heather Richards of the Town Barbers said: “We at the Town Barbers are delighted to assist the S2s at KGS in their plans for striving to improve how we all live our lives, and make the world a fairer and safer place for everyone to live. It’s time to act and help out against injustice for a brighter future for all our kids.”
Pupils have forged new partnerships with a Government Boys’ Secondary School in Pakistan and Nexus International Academy in Nepal, as part of the programme which is run in over 30 countries by the British Council in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
Working with schools across the globe, the initiative seeks to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to make a positive contribution to their world.
The programme, of which Papdale Primary School is also taking part, enables teachers not only to teach these skills to children in their classroom, but when it is safe to do so, also to visit partner schools in other countries to exchange insights and ideas on how to improve teaching and global learning in their schools.
Theo continued: “Connecting Classrooms supports and helps our pupils understand the big issues that shape their world.
“It will equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make a positive contribution. The pupils decided upon these projects themselves and share their reasons why.”
Elsie-Mae Tulloch, S2, said: “I think that providing sandals and school uniforms for the poor pupils in our partner school in Pakistan will help reduce poverty, as it ensures that these kids can get an education and therefore a better job, so they can get out of poverty, and possibly move to a better and safer environment. It also puts less pressure on their parents and careers that must pay for the uniforms and education of their children.”
Ryan Goodram, S2, said: “When poor kids are able to attend school, they will get the education they need to get qualifications and then jobs. They can then earn wages that will help take them and their family out of poverty as well as help reduce the inequalities they face.”
Hope Henderson, S2, said: “Education is the easiest and quickest way out of poverty, so helping our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world gain access to education is the right thing to do.”
Lee Dearness, S2, said: “Collecting stationery would help stop poverty because when we donate pencils, rubbers and pens that is one less thing to pay for and if they do not pay for some stuff then that means education won't be as expensive and kids can go to school. This will make it possible for them to then get a job and earn enough to provide the basic amenities (food, shelter, clothing, healthcare) for their loved ones.”
Emily Harris, S2, said: “We have chosen the Climate Awareness Project to help achieve Goals 1 and 10 (No Poverty and Reduced Inequalities). Using ethical search engines like OceanHero and Ecosia helps with reducing poverty because if there is plastic in our oceans, lakes and rivers the water is not safe to drink, and marine life is threatened. Not having clean water to drink can cause illness, leading to hefty hospital bills. Those who rely on the oceans as a source of income suffer. I think it is a no brainer to gain knowledge and save the world doing that. Five searches on OceanHero and they take a plastic bottle out of the ocean; five Ecosia searches, they plant a tree.”
Joanna Warwick acting Principal Teacher of Social Subject and Teacher of Geography said : “Understanding the big issues that shape our world has never been more important. And as the UK looks towards a post-Brexit future, it is more critical than ever that our young people have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to operate internationally. Through the ‘Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning' programme, we are enabling them to have the best possible chance of succeeding and contributing to a world that is becoming ever more interconnected and interdependent.”
The key elements of Orkney’s planned partnership activities include shedding light on issues of poverty and inequality and highlighting the fact that destruction of local environments are universal problems. Pupils will through tasks, be able to identify, explain and evaluate the causes of poverty, inequality and environmental destruction, ways to deal with their root causes with the aim of making improvements.
Muhammad Idrees, from Government Boys’ Secondary School Pakistan, said: “Our partnership is the miracle of this century. It is the right place to start in our pledge to make the world a global village. The project Kirkwall Grammar School is planning to execute with us, will support our poor students and motivate them in their quest to get out of poverty.”