I have some very exciting news! Drum roll please…I have organised a penfriend project between children in the centre (and a neighbouring school, where two of FAPE’s directors, Hicham Ouaha and Abdellah Lamine teach) and a Diss High School in Norfolk, England.
I have the connection with Diss High School, because I am a volunteer for a project called Routes into Languages East, which aims to encourage school children in the UK to take languages further in their education by pairing their class up with a university student currently on their year abroad. I write blogposts (which can be found here: http://gapyearsurvivingtheunexpected.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/routes%20into%20languages) on what it’s like to take a year abroad in Morocco, including about my volunteering with FAPE and MCT.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I realised I had the opportunity to set up a cultural exchange between the class I volunteer with in Diss and the children here. I have had a penfriend since I was 12 (hi Héloïse if you’re reading this) and we’re still in contact and very good friends, despite still having never met in person! However, we still send letters and emails and facebook messages and I have to say, without her, I doubt my French would be as good as it is today. I have also participated in two school exchanges, one to France and one to Germany and am still in touch with my partners from those exchanges. Evidently, I am a huge advocate for exchange programs. I believe they provide a fun and real insight into the real lives of people in different countries, as well as providing language learners with a way to practice their skills. Learning about other cultures is so important, because it encourages open-mindedness, curiosity and tolerance.
So now I am working in collaboration with Hicham Ouaha, Brahim Boutagha (one of the social workers at centre Amane) and Catherine Miles (a French teacher at Diss High School) to organise this project. Catherine has already asked her students to write some introductory letters to the children here in French, which she sent me via email and this week we have started to write our responses. Hopefully within the next few weeks I will be able to visit Hicham’s school to do a letter writing workshop with the children there.