COLÁISTE Ide agus Iosef in Abbeyfeale has “twinned” with a secondary school in Cape Town, South Africa as part of the school’s programme to foster awareness of development issues.
And early next year, two teachers from the school, Joan Collins and Mary Walsh Foley, will spend ten days at the ID Mkise Senior Secondary School, finding out what school life is like there.
They will then bring their experience back to Transition Year students in Abbeyfeale, to help them understand more fully how others live and to know the issues, hopes and aspirations of South African teenagers.
The hope also is that teachers from the South African school will pay a return visit next year, Ms Collins told the Leader this week.
Meanwhile, students in the school’s Art and Craft Club are busy making jewellery and other crafty items for a jumble sale to be held in the coming weeks. The money made at the sale will be brought to South Africa, Ms Collins explained. “We will discuss and see what is needed and buy it for the school when we are there,” she said.
The twinning is part of the development education partnership programme run by the Irish based charity, Amawele. The charity was set up by Irish parents who wanted Irish children to become more familiar with the harsh lives of their counterparts in developing countries.
And a key aspect of the programme is a series of workshops which take place in the course of the school year.
One workshop, Ms Collins explained, covered the idea of micro-finance which is aimed mainly at women, helping them to become earners for their families. And some of the craft items currently being made at the school owe their inspiration to a workshop featuring speakers who worked with some of these women in developing countries and who brought samples of the products made through micro-finance programmes.
“We are looking forward to building a partnership with ID Mkize and learning more about the achievements, needs and interests of staff and pupils there,” the principal of Coláiste Ide agus Iosef, John Tierney said, adding that the aim was to develop learning and cultural links between students and staff in both schools. The trip to South Africa is being funded through a grant operated by Worldwise Global Schools, an entity of Irish Aid and the Department of Foreign Affairs.