I am at a lack of words for describing my time in South Africa. Connecting with SizaBantwana, the nonprofit group that helps orphaned and vulnerable children was amazing. I can’t wait to show the students and staff from my school the difference that they were able to make in the lives of other children. I met my students’ pen pals and have come back with more beautiful letters. It is interesting to me how the grant “morphs.” SizaBantwana was a part of my grant, but has proved to be very significant. Since I have returned, both staff and my principal have said that our school needs to stay in permanent contact with this organization. Like a sister “school,” but nonprofit.
Studying Nelson Mandela and the apartheid movement was amazing. I picked up more books to read in my classroom to be used a comparative study on the civil rights movement and the anti-apartheid movement. I was able to find an original ballot from the 1994 elections that Nelson Mandela won. What an awesome artifact to have in my classroom.
I am presenting at two community organizations in the upcoming fall: The Diversity Action Team of Rock County and Delta Kappa Gamma Rock County (International key women educator sorority). This will be Apartheid 1994 and beyond. I will also be presenting to the district (The superintendent has asked to talk to me about my experience). This is because a main part of a district initiative is called “Building Bridges,” which is focused on making and learning about global connections. Of course, I am presenting to my whole school so that they can see the children at SizaBantwana receiving donations. We made a video for the kids of SizaBantwana to see what our school looks like. Three students also volunteered their homes so that they could see what an apartment, duplex, and house looks like in our town. I then videotaped in South Africa with the kids of SizaBantwana, and have a reciprocal video that I am creating so that students here can see their school and their homes.
I am proud to say that because of this grant I have made lifelong connections that my whole school is embracing. This key human connection will help all students at my school become ethical world citizens. I cannot thank you enough for this opportunity!
Janesville Elementary – Janesville, WI
Jennifer designed a Fund for Teachers fellowship to explore in South Africa parallels between the anti-apartheid and civil rights movements to highlight nonviolent ideology, enhance multicultural lessons and help students become ethical world citizens. You can read more about her class’ involvement in her fellowship, particularly in raising funds to support SizaBantwana, here.
(In photos, Jennifer delivers donated supplies to case workers and students from SizaBantwana.)