Written by Laurie Koning, EduDeo's School Relationship Manager.
Every year, the annual EduDeo school campaign puts the spotlight on a particular EduDeo international partner (or partners). We highlight their unique context, challenges they face in providing a Christ-centred education, and how they meet those challenges.
This year we invited schools across Canada to join the Made to Thrive campaign, which is supporting the construction of 9 classrooms, a dining hall, as well as providing tuition bursaries in Ethiopia.
So, what does it mean to “join” EduDeo’s annual school campaign?
It depends! Every year teachers & students across Canada find a variety of ways to show their support. It could be through a simple prayer that teachers in Ethiopia would be empowered to teach their students what it means to live as Christ. Or it could be a class presentation where students learn about EduDeo’s work or connect with an international partner through Zoom. Perhaps a teacher chooses to design a class project to learn about the importance of education. Many schools have hosted school-wide fundraisers and even invited other schools to join in. No matter the scale, the support is appreciated!
For now, I’d like to highlight a class at Dunnville Christian School.
I met the Grade 4/5 teacher, Bernice Wierenga, just before the beginning of the school year. From our first conversation it was clear that Bernice has a heart for global education. Her deep hope for her students was that they understand who they are created to be and learn to show empathy, kindness, and compassion for all people and wanted them to create beautiful work to show their growth in these areas. She integrated curricular outcomes within Social Studies, Creation Studies, Visual Arts, and Language Arts to design a Formational Learning Experience in partnership with EduDeo. Students researched differences between Canadian and Ethiopia schools, including a Zoom interview with EduDeo’s Coordinator in Ethiopia, Mitiku. Bernice shared that she wanted her students to write prayers.
To do this, we connected her to a class in Arsi Negele, Ethiopia, so that the Canadian and Ethiopian students could get to know each other personally. Dunnville students wrote questionnaires that were shared with the Arsi Negele students during an EduDeo staff visit to Ethiopia in January. Dunnville students were assigned one or two Arsi Negele students and used the responses to the questionnaires (which were translated from Amharic to English) to write prayers (using the ACTS model) and paired these with beautiful art. Each Arsi Negele student's photo was surrounded by items that represented them and their country. The prayers and art were combined into a book which was professionally printed and available for parents to purchase.
To offset costs and support the Made to Thrive campaign, the Grade 4/5s hosted a fundraiser. Students designed posters to advertise and organized “Movie Night Treat Bags” containing drinks, candy, and popcorn for families to enjoy a night of fun on Family Day weekend.
I love the term “Formational Learning Experience" to describe the Dunnville class’s experience. School work should provide opportunities for students to engage in experiences with their peers that allow them to grow in faith and character. I have no doubt the Dunnville Christian School students won’t forget what they learned about their new Ethiopian friends, about themselves, and about the Creator who cares for each one of them.
We made a special prayer devotional for this learning experience. You can read (and use!) it yourself here.