Miss Crawford visits Zambia as part of the 'Connecting Classrooms' project
During February half term I had the experience of a life time when I visited Zambia as part of the ‘Connecting Classrooms’ project run by the British Council. Miss Harwood visited Limulunga Basic School in the Mongu District of Zambia’s Western Province last year to start the ball rolling with our shared project on Children’s Rights and I was given the opportunity to continue the project this year.
Having never been to Africa, I had no idea what to expect, but Miss Harwood assured me that, no matter what, I would be well looked after by our hosts. She wasn’t wrong! From the warm welcome at the airport to the farewell meal on our last night, we were made to feel at home in every school we visited. I hope we can be as welcoming when Limulunga’s head Teacher, Mr Sitali, and his colleagues visit the UK in May.
This year, Selby High students in KS3 have been investigating differences between their own lives and those of children at Limulunga in their PSHCE lessons and I was looking forward to observing some of these differences for myself. In reality, I saw more similarities than I expected. Being the provincial capital, Mongu’s streets are filled with public service buildings; libraries, nurseries, health centres, state schools, business and vocational colleges in addition to shops, restaurants and barbershops. Since returning home, I have shared some photographs with KS3 students who were shocked to see Mongu residents queuing for mobile phone credit, selling CDs at the side of the road and enjoying chicken and chips.
My photographs and stories from the classroom seemed to fit more with students’ preconceptions of an African country yet they were still amazed to see eight students sharing a text book, students unable to join in with the lessons due to having lost their pencil and children learning under the shade of a tree as there aren’t enough classrooms.
My trip really was a unique experience and one that I will never forget. I hope that by sharing this experience with our students, they will develop more of an insight into a culture so different from their own.