Teaching 6th Graders at a Brookline Public School about Global Education Issues

An eager group of 6th graders awaited their guest speaker, Arti Pandey, Program Director from Barakat as the morning bell rang for the start of their first period on Friday, September 12th.

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Having read ‘The Breadwinner’ a children’s novel about the children of Afghanistan, by Deborah Ellis, the students were prepared to learn more about the condition of their peers in that distant country.

The class started with a simple interactive exercise that allowed the children to realize how similar their own hopes and aspirations are to those of the children of Afghanistan. A PowerPoint presentation interspersed with questions about the pictures they saw on the screen followed. It was not long before the children pointed out, “Their schools (in Afghanistan) do not always have walls, or roofs.” “There are very few girls in the school.” “There are a lot of children in the class.” “Where are the supplies, the textbooks and stationary?”

After a lively discussion, the children learned about the work that Barakat is doing and how they can help. Two weeks later, we received a large packet from Melissa London, the teacher who had organized the entire session – a shower of cards from each of the more than 60 students who had attended the classes!

Barakat plans to continue making connections between the children here and the children at the Barakat schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan by encouraging penpal relationships between the two groups.

We are also happy to extend this program to other schools and classrooms in the Boston-Metro area. If you are (or know) a school administrator, teacher, student, or parent who is interested in bringing this presentation to a school or class, please contact Arti Pandey. We can adapt the curriculum to any age group.