Going Global in Newton Primary School

This is the story of how two Project Trust volunteers, one return and one future, and one powerpoint presentation brought Global Citizenship to the world (or at least one primary school in Scotland) and raised some funds in the process.

One of the fundamental values at Project Trust is Global Citizenship. It is imbued in every part of your experience with them, from a workshop during the selection week, to the qualification you work on throughout your year abroad and even to what you teach your classes during your year away. Then, once you have finally come home, one way you can continue to be involved with Project Trust is by becoming a Global Citizenship ambassador and going out to talk to schools.

Back in October, I decided that I wanted to try something like this with my old primary school but as a future PT volunteer rather than a returned one. I thought I could combine some workshops on Global Citizenship with a non-uniform day to raise some funds. The head teacher, Mrs McManus, was very open to and excited by the whole idea.

However, Global Citizenship is one of those terms that most people have a vague idea of what it means but find it really difficult to put into words and all I really knew was what I had learnt in the hour-long workshop when I was on Coll. It was clear. I needed help.  I emailed Heloise Allan, Head of Education at PT, and she put a call out to the Global Ambassadors in my area asking if anyone would be interested in helping me out. Step up Belle Yeung, a returned Honduras volunteer now studying at the University of Edinburgh.

After Christmas, it was suddenly full speed ahead. I wanted the day that we chose to be Global Citizenship themed, so we settled on the 5th of February, linking it to UNICEF’s Day for Change. I liked the idea of a day where I could inspire people to think more globally and ask themselves what they can do to help others.

Via e-mail, Belle and I identified 3 days prior to the non-uniform day that she could come out to Dunblane and help with the workshops. A week before our first one, I went into Edinburgh to finally meet up with her. I was buzzing with anticipation to meet someone who knows exactly what this experience is like and can understand exactly what I’m feeling, especially because we have Honduras in common. We spent about three hours forming a plan and nursing a coffee and then sat for another hour just talking about Project Trust and Honduras. Needless to say I now know all the best tips for Honduras, and all the must see places for during travel time!

Something very special about Project Trust is that, even if you don’t have anything else in common, you are guaranteed to get on with another volunteer. I think it’s to do with the kind of person you have to be to want to go to the other side of the world on your own for a whole year – there is something undeniably unique about that and when you find it in others, you instantly connect with it. 

I left Edinburgh ready to take on our first workshop the following Friday with P4s and 5s. My idea for tying in Global Citizenship with the non-uniform day was for the kids to dress up like someone from their favourite country or in the colours of the flag. The P7s who had been helping me had run with this and assigned each year group a country that Project Trust works in and they had to wear the corresponding colours of the flag, which I think was a fantastic idea! They also made posters to promote the day and put them up round school and we wrote and sent an e-mail to all the parents telling them about the non uniform day.

So finally all the planning was done, the prep was finished and all that was left was to actually run the workshops and have the non-uniform day!

Our first day of workshops was with the P4 and P5 classes – they were amazing! We tried to get the kids involved as much as possible by asking them lots of questions about what they saw happening in our photos, answering them as if we were the Honduran school children that Belle had taught. I had been a little concerned that some things might go a bit over their heads but, from the reaction we got, they understood the issues we were talking about and were interested by them.

On our second day, with the P1, P2 and P3 classes, we simplified the concept of Global Citizenship. We wanted to talk about the same ideas but in a way that they would be able to understand and relate to so we used pictures from Belle’s year in Honduras to illustrate the differences and similarities between a school pupil in Scotland and in Honduras. They were all desperate to answer the questions we asked them about their lives here and then listened intently while we compared them with Honduras.

We finished the workshops with P6 and P7 on the morning of the non-uniform day. We used the same presentation as the P4s and 5s had and had very similar answers to our questions. However, the questions they asked at the end were based a lot more about what I would be doing during my year in Honduras. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to give them that much information because I don’t have my project details yet but I told them as much as I could and Belle was able to tell them more of her stories.

It was great to see all the classes thinking about everything they’d learnt and to hear what was most important to them. For some of them they hadn’t even known Honduras was a place, and for me, even just teaching them that fact, having widened their view of the world just a little, was worth all the effort of planning and running the workshops. A lot were surprised by the fact that for some children their only meal of the day was whilst they were at school. As for being a Global Citizens, they realise that it is all about looking after our planet, caring for other people and being aware and respectful of other cultures, religions and beliefs around the world. At the end of the day I feel we accomplished everything that we wanted to. I think everyone (even the teachers!) learnt something new through the workshops and we helped spread Project Trust’s message and ethos.

Being in on the morning of the non-uniform day was great because it meant that we could see the kids in all of the colours of their flags, and they all looked brilliant! I was especially impressed with P1 who had Swaziland (lots of nice bright primary colours for them in that one) and P7 who had Honduras (but then I might be a little biased there!).

The main aims of working with the Newton Primary was to spread awareness of Global Citizenship and raise some money for my year but I also hope that it has planted the seed in the minds of some of the older ones that Project Trust is out there and is an option for their future.

You’ve probably noticed I keep saying ‘we’ and that’s because this really was a team effort. I want to give my biggest thanks to Belle because I honestly couldn’t have done this without her. ¡Gracias! I also want to say a big thank you to Mrs McManus, Mrs Kane and the We Count group at Newton Primary School for helping me organise everything. Thank you to Heloise at PT too for all her help, her emails checking how everything was going and for her enthusiasm. And finally I can’t finish without thanking all the pupils at Newton Primary who listened to us so well, participated brilliantly, brought in their pennies and who hopefully are going to take Global Citizenship with them through the rest of their lives.

This was an amazing experience for me. The funds I raised, an amazing £392.83, were a big incentive for this project but I got so much more out of it than that. It gave me an invaluable opportunity to meet someone who has been to Honduras, who knows how I am feeling about this whole experience and who shared her stories and advice with me. I have been completely caught up by the ethos and message that Project Trust wants to spread so hopefully I have inspired some future volunteers and others to think about the world and their place in it. I also got to talk about Honduras for hours on end, which anyone who knows me will tell you I am happy to do!

P1 Swaziland
P2 China
P3 Malaysia
P4 Dominican Republic
P5 Ghana
P6 India
P7 Honduras

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