Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cause & Affect: Sending Impoverished Egyptian Students to School

Family with 3 kids who are in school thanks to this project.
Adam Carter, proud teacher, with his
middle school students in Ras es Soda, Egypt

One reason Cause & Affect founder Adam Carter chose to pursue teaching in international schools was to be able to establish meaningful relationships within a school community, which would allow him to mobilize his students to help improve their community. Now in his second year teaching at Schutz American School in Alexandria, Egypt he has partnered with local non-profits and mobilized his students to engage in a variety of service learning projects aimed at bettering the community of Alexandria and other parts of Egypt.

After designing the CONNECT course, based on instilling global citizenship through service learning, he has helped students carry out a range of activities in the past year and a half. To begin this school year, Cause & Affect partnered with the middle school students to carry out this wonderful project that sent 230 under-privileged children - living in Alexandria's most impoverished neighborhood - to school this year. The students raised over $3,000 to finance the back-to-school kits and school uniforms needed and Cause & Affect chipped in the remaining $450. Here is a description of the project from the CONNECT class blog.

Following up our wonderful Blanket
Distribution Project and Clothing Drive last year, we have deepened our relationship with the impoverished community of Ras el Soda, located in our hometown on Alexandria, Egypt. During last year's collaboration, we learned that many kids in this neighborhood are not able to attend school because their parents cannot afford to purchase them the school supplies or school uniforms they need. 

Not a pretty place, but home to thousands of people
 in need of aid and education

After compiling all of the supplies,
our students filled the backpacks 
Before we could do that though, we needed to jump to acton to raise the funds needed to purchase the supplies. In order to make this a true learning experience, students first studied the issue, learning why education is such important opportunity to improve a family's socio-economic condition. 

When our students heard this, they decided they wanted to help. We decided to make and distribute "back-to-school kits," complete with backpack, notebooks, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.We then purchased the supplies wholesale (getting the best value for our money) and then brought everything to Schutz. Our students then ran an assembly line, filling over 200 of these kits with all the necessary supplies. 
Carrying back-to-school kits through the neighborhood to
our happy recipients

Students then made public awareness posters to help spread the word about what they were trying to accomplish. As they raised money, we used fundraising charts to show their progress and get them excited to fulfill their commitment. 

Happy boy who learned he gets to go to school this year

The final step was to hand-deliver the back-to-school kits to the families in need. We took the 6 students with the best posters to the community and were able to visit about ten families to deliver the backpacks. 

Our students, who come from privileged backgrounds, were
appalled to see people living in homes like this, but they are
inspired to make a difference
The final step was to hand-deliver the back-to-school kits to the families in need. We took the 6 students with the best posters to the community and were able to visit about ten families to deliver the backpacks. 

The rest of the backpacks have been delivered with the help of our local partner, the wonderful non-profit we worked with last year. 

Parents were informed that by accepting this kit, they were committing to send their kids to school. Our students were able to explain what we were doing to the Ras es 
As the video report shows, our students were able to put their compassion into action and make a profound difference in the lives of 230 of these kids, who would not be in school if our students had not raised the funds and taken the time to make this project a reality. In addition, they learned just how much they have to be thankful for and were rewarded with the satisfaction of improving the lives of those in need. The experience was tied to classroom activities and we also allowed the students to provide their feedback in school as we celebrated their success. This is what service learning should aim to achieve!