"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."
While connecting students from around the world is the primary focus of World Education Connection, our organization has reached out in a variety of additional projects. That's what relationship are for, to support each other, especially in times of need.
Connecting with Desks
In the early months of World Education Connection’s pilot year, 2016-1017, Lisa Booth discovered the serious lack of basic necessities at Tanzanian schools. Among those necessities, desks. Makeshift desks, or none at all, engender an uncomfortable learning experience and fail to demonstrate to students that school is an important priority. About that same time, WEC was offered 86 “like new” desks from University of Northwest in Roseville, Minnesota. The obvious opportunity to connect the resource with the need could not be ignored. With the gracious support of local friends, Penske Trucks, and Claremont High School students, the 86 desks made their way from their cold winter home in the north to sunny Southern California. Three schools, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga School in East Los Angeles, Sol del Valle Community Center in San Fernando, and the Los Angeles International Charter School in East Los Angeles* benefitted from the orphan desks, and funds from the sale of those desks, combined with Go Fund Me proceeds will provide funding for twice as many desks to be made and placed in Tanzanian schools soon.
* A by-product of the connections made by the great desk journey is WEC gained three additional partner schools in the United States for the 2017-2018 year!
Connecting with Technology
Inspiration and ideas were the fuel for World Education Connection, however it appeared in the early months of the pilot year 2016-2017 there weren't wheels on our cars! Photographs and letters were exchanged within Global Teams, however 21st Century technology had not yet reached Tanzania. Often Tanzanian teachers would visit internet cafes after school hours to contact American programs. Go Fund Me and other private support allowed World Education Connection to provide wireless routers and broadband to four Tanzanian schools, bringing Global Teams together live for the first time on May 10, 2017, the first World Education Day of Connection.
In the video above, Bakari Yusuf Magezi describes the difficulty he is having connecting with his Global Partner class because of the old, low quality technology at his school.
Connecting with Counseling
Excitement was building for the First Annual World Education Day of Connection when, just four days before the scheduled event, tragedy struck the sister school of one of our Tanzanian Global Team members. Saturday, May 6, 2017, a bus full of students ages 12-13 were on their way on wet, rainy roads to take an exam in a neighboring city. "Theplace where it happened is a hill, with a steep slope,.." commented Aruba Police Commander Charles Mkumbo, in describing in fatal crash in the city of Arusha. 33 children, two teachers, and the driver were killed as the bus fell into a ravine. "The accident has cut short the dreams of students who were preparing to serve the nation," Tanzanian President John Magufuli said. Three survivors were flown to Iowa for medical care.
This horrible accident, nearly 10,000 miles from the United States, did not receive much news coverage, however World Education heard the cries of the families and classmates of the deceased. The devastated nation, with limited resources, struggled to make sense of the event. WEC reached out to supporters for the funds to provide professional trauma and grief counseling to those affected. Nearly 100 donors connected, and in less than ten days three volunteers, Psychologist Cannon Luvinga, WEC Assistant Director and Manager Covering Africa Deus Cosmos, and WEC Teacher Cosmas Haule were sitting and visiting the the owner of the school, head teacher, and several other teachers. They visited every single family home and told them, "We hear your cries." They let them know everyone feels their pain. "It is nice to know we are loved," said the head teacher of St. Lucky Vincent.
A weekend-long Facebook fundraising drive, with most contributions just $10 each, provided the financing needed to send trauma counselors to St. Lucky Vincent. The positive side effect: greater visibility to the Tanzanian tragedy as well as World Education Connection.