Since the start of the 2015-2016 school year, Connecting Countries has found itself in numerous local classrooms. Each visit was an invited request by a classroom teacher to show their students how to make a difference in a fellow student’s life by using a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. At present Connecting Countries has 8 Ontario schools and one school in Suzhou City China writing Pen Pal letters that are being exchanged with students who attend Connecting Countries’ affiliated schools in Nyandarua County in Kenya. Letters generally take 2-3 weeks to reach their Kenya school destination. The receiving schools are given one month to respond.
Since most local schools mailed their letters before Christmas, they have been receiving their return letters from Kenya during March. Members of Connecting Countries’ Pen Pal Committee have been invited back to witness the excitement shown by both teachers and students as the Kenyan envelope containing letters is opened.
One teacher commented that, “No story, video, or research assignment could ever match building a relationship.This is an authentic experience that excites, motivates, and changes people for the better.” Another stated, “Making personal connections with students living in a very different cultural landscape helps to grow their understanding and compassion… preparing them to become citizens of the world.”
The Pen Pal Letters Exchange Program expects each school in all countries to exchange 2 sets of letters this school year. This means we are on pace to have at least 1404 letters written and exchanged by the end of June 2016! Cultural understanding at its best!