LWA Students Explore Solutions to Education
Amanda Ruckel, the Education Liaison from Concern Worldwide, led the Middle School and then the students in Grade 10 in assemblies on the topic of education. The students learned some background information about the challenges that many young people face in attaining an education in the poorest countries in the world. They even got to experience what it was like to struggle to read with an activity Ms. Ruckel provided for the students.
The students were then divided into groups to work on case studies and to brainstorm solutions. The scenarios included learning about access for girls to education in Mozambique, Niger and Burundi. They learned that girls often may not go to school beyond the beginning primary school years because the schools in the second phase of primary education are too far for them to travel safely. Also, since it is the traditional job of women and girls to fetch water (perhaps traveling a distance of more than 5 km), girls are not able to go to school because they need to take care of this task.
They also learned about orphans and families affected by chronic diseases or girls from ethnic minorities facing barriers to attending school. Concern has proposed solutions to these obstacles to girls’ education and the students brainstormed their own ideas. Among the student proposals were that boarding-type schools be set up for the students so they did not have to travel far and that water access be brought to the communities, thus eliminating the need to travel far and take a lot of time to collect. After the students’ last encounter with the water carrying experience, they had a deeper understanding of the actual challenges faced by girls around the world.
Donna Linton is Head of Lower and Middle School at Lawrence Woodmere Academy in Long Island, NY.