Monday, October 25, 2010

Love to Kibera - the power of teaching and poverty

I'm in Austin, Texas for the Austin Film Festival before my big trip to London, England to see our Canadian & American teachers. The other night I met a documentary director, Lee Rothenflue, who told a story that sent shivers up my arm.  As an educator who focuses on teaching kids from all the world, and a recruiter who selects teachers for jobs in inner city schools in London - this particular story touched me.

I know I can't do it justice here, but I will try to sum it up for 'y'all.'

A secondary school teacher in a poor, mostly black, Austin school noticed that her students needed a reality check on what they actually have compared to other kids around the world.  She wanted them to see kids living in slums, and their experiences so that her students could embrace their own educations & opportunities despite the setbacks presented to them in Austin.  So a video was made.  From Kibera slums to the kids in Austin - and their message was clear: love to Austin and please visit us.

When the teacher showed the video to her class, she was surprised by their response.  They wanted to accept the invitation and go to Kibera to meet the kids.

$30 000 of funds raised later, and a whole lot of planning and preparation brought the Texan kids to Kibera.

Here's a quick video to see the students discussing their upcoming journey.  Keep in mind that the kids at the school in Austin and the kids in Kibera have a Christian background, so you will notice a focus on Jesus Christ, which for us in Canadian public education is uncomfortable.  We don't tend to touch religion like they do here in Texas, so ... just a heads up for those who might not be accustomed to the Christ focus.  The school in Austin is a public school, but this is Texas, so Christianity is the norm folks.

While there, the Texans learned about laughter and love and a documentary was made.  I'm excited to see it complete.

What do you think?  Would you take your students to a slum?  What do you think they'd learn?

Here is the website for Love to Kibera. Go check it out!  Spread the word. Share the love.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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  1. I'm moved to tears, here. Thank you - so much - for sharing this story. We are humbled, grateful, overjoyed and just might do a little dance for the connection Lee & you guys made at the film festival. I can't wait to share this with the kids - they still have a hard time believing this story - THEIR story - is powerful enough to move others to action.

  2. It's the power of one, multiplied by many.

    Happy to help! I'm excited to watch and participate in the documentary's journey.

    Keep up the great work!


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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