2008 News Highlights

Girl Scout Brings Gold to South Africa’s Youngest Students

In August 2008 Thabisile Primary School saw South African teachers, educational officers and community development agents, as well as parents from communities surrounding the school’s campus in Soweto, all coming to visit and leaving thoroughly impressed. The reason? A model kindergarten room created as a Girl Scout Gold Award project by Christina Vanech.

“The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout 14-18 may earn.” According to the Girl Scouts, the award could be described as being “what you really want to be remembered for” in Girl Scouting. For many, the leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment that come from “going for the Gold” set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.”

Visitors to the model kindergarten created by Christina suggested that the room ought to be the standard for kindergartens in their schools as well. More…

Teen Aims to Transform Children’s World

June 2008.- 14-year-old Milena Lurie and her mother heard of the Global Literacy Project’s work in 2006 through mutual acquaintences of high school sophomore Christina Vanech. They were impressed how Christina’s family and peers at the Pingry School in New Jersey worked with the organization and other schools in the area to collect and ship thousands of books to disadvantaged students in Johannesburg, South Africa.

At the time, the Global Literacy Project was working at Kadalure Village, in Tamil Nadu (South India), at the Delta Training Campus where a high quality reference library for young women from poor rural communities pursuing careers in nursing was established. Milena’s and her mother’s involvement subsequently enabled the Global Literacy Project to expand its focus to include the Lady Lynn Joyful Home orphanage, (run by the Integrated Rural Development Center, IRDC, which provides relief to the rural areas of Pudukottai District) and ten additional village schools in Gandharvakottai

With a tremendous response from her friends and well-wishers, Lurie was able to collect books on a wide range of subjects and received surprise donations from Disney Books and Scholastic Publishers as well. With several months of often intense following up she ended up collecting close to 50,000 books! A portion of these books was given to the Lady Lynn Joyful Home and the remainder is reserved for the ten village schools. In recognition of this enormous gesture of good will, as well as the fact that Milena decided to follow the books to India where she volunteered to help set up the actual library room, the Global Literacy Project decided to name the orphanage library in her honor.

Read about Milena’s project in SPAN, the magazine of the American Embassy in New Delhi HERE.

Chatham Day School Students Recognized for Commitment to Global Outreach and Awareness with South African School

May 19.- Over the past academic year, Chatham Day School has partnered with the Thabisile School in Soweto, South Africa, to bring a global awareness to students on both continents.

The year-long initiative, encompassed global exchanges, such as pen pal letters, videotape and photo stories, community service events, book drives and an infusion of each country’s history and culture into their respective social studies curriculum.  The Chatham Day School students also hosted a visitor from Thabisile during the month of February and in return, the students of Thabisile will host a Chatham Day School teacher in August.

In February, Chatham Day School students sold baked goods that they prepared at school and raised enough money to purchase the Thabisile School’s first computer. In May, self-made bracelets were sold by the students to raise funds for anthologies for the African school, as well.
On Monday, Chatham Day School (CDS) and Global Literacy Project, Inc. (GLP) celebrated the completion of this year-long School-to-School Partnership.   Dr. Olubayi, president of GLP, presented 
Dr. Fiander with a plaque for the school; Mrs. Greco was recognized for her personal commitment, and each student in the fourth and sixth grades was given a Certificate of Commendation in recognition of Global Citizenship.GLP decided to recognize the students with commendation certificates as their participating in the global outreach fulfilled the five areas of Global Citizenship by:

  • Demonstrating awareness of the fact that we share the world with other people, and that events in one part of the world affect people in other parts

  • Engaging in active service learning projects to meet the needs of other people abroad, and to deepen their own ability to make a difference

  • Reaching out to persons outside their own culture with the aim of promoting inter-cultural understanding, and personal sense of membership in a broad global community

  • Showing a sense of tolerance and respect for diversity

  • Developing empathy with, and an active concern for people in other countries, and reflect on questions of interdependence, social justice and equity.

GLP also recognized the school under the leadership of Dr. Pamela Fiander and its community service director, Mrs. Donna Greco. (See also this Chatham Courier article)

Mountain Lakes Girl Scouts Reach Out to Assist African Students with Community-wide Book Drive

May 16, 2008.- GLP Trustees Edward Ramsamy and Kavitha Ramachandran recently visited with Abby Kimmelman and her friends to talk about what kind of impact New Jersey students can have to make a difference for students in Africa. Abby Kimmelman is a student at the Pingry School in Martinsville, NJ where she got to know about GLP through the GLP Club there.   As part of her Girl Scout Silver Awards project, she and 6 other girls form her Girl Scout troop in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey are working on a town-wide book drive to help benefit GLP. They have already collected several thousand books. Ramsamy gave the scout troop some first hand recollections from his youth growing up in apartheid South Africa.