Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Building Global Citizens: GAP & BCP

In the past two weeks both students and teachers have been involved in a plethora of initiatives and learning aimed at building communities and developing global citizens. It's a sustainability and service learning dream come true!  

It would have been difficult to avoid getting sucked into the enthusiasm revolving around the high school Global Action Program (GAP). In large part GAP is about building bridges. Bridges between different people and places and systems and structures. Bridges between ecological, social, economic and political sustainability. Bridges of experiential learning for our students and those we meet. Every trip is integrated with a service program that is powerful and authentic.

In the case of Cambodia 9, which I was privileged to participate in, it was through the building of a home for a rural family whose daily income, on days when work is available, hovers around USD 3. Our students also taught English to children around Seam Reap for whom the language can, quite literally, be a one way street out of poverty. We also initiated the building of a library in a community school, using discarded plastic bottles and waste. The arrival of subsequent school groups, during the fall semester or school travel, should see the building completed by November. 

It was in conjunction with one of those GAP trips to Bali that our elementary librarian, Suji Dehart, was doing her bit for global citizenship as well. She has been integral in establishing a partnership between ISKL and a rural Balinese community to support literacy there. The Bali Children's Project has just begun by providing a library for the young children in the area with obvious benefits to literacy, education and beyond. It was particularly meaningful that a group of GAP students supported the establishment of the library and the reading to children there.

Extending it even further, Suji and David Herbert, our new Elementary School Service Learning Coordinators, are using the Bali Children’s Project as the focus of fundraising for Melawati, largely through our grade five Red Hats initiatives. These are the baby steps in long-term commitment to sustainable development in communities where need is highest.

These are but two examples of how, at ISKL, the pursuit of global citizenship is taking form.  One need only to look around to see ISKL’s community doing it’s bit in making the world a better place without fanfare or pomp or circumstance.

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