Canadian students learn about global citizenship and ‘Obuntu’

On October 3, 2018, Mama na Mtoto team members visited a grade 7/8 ‘Kindness Matters’ class at the École Deer Meadow School (EDMS) in Olds, Alberta. Ashley Anderson and Karen Joe from the University of Calgary and Clare Kyokushaba from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda had the opportunity to talk to students about Mama na Mtoto and its sister project Healthy Child Uganda, as well as to provide a brief glimpse into life in East Africa. The class engaged in conversations about global citizenship and Obuntuism, an African concept that refers to a sense of community mindedness.

Ashley Anderson and Karen Joe from Canada, and Clare Kyokushaba, who was visiting from Uganda at the time,

‘Kindness Matters’ is an elective class offered at EDMS. Its mission, as stated by teacher Heather Dewling, is “to spread kindness, compassion and empathy in our school, community and globally through projects, discussion, and learning through lessons.”

When Dewling learned of Anderson’s internship placement with Mama na Mtoto in Tanzania earlier in the year, she and her class started following Anderson, who is also an EDMS alum, on her experience via her blog “I’ll Call you When I Get There.” While still abroad last April, Anderson connected with the class over Facetime and answered the students’ questions about Tanzania and global development work.

The visit was well-received by the students and many expressed interest in partaking in overseas trips similar to Ashley’s internship. “This also led us to talk about the concept of making a difference right here at home first,” said Dewling in a follow-up email. Learning about Obuntuism also made an impact on the class. “We talked about ways that we can do this every day and promote this through our class,” added Dewling.

The Mama na Mtoto facilitators also enjoyed their visit. “It was inspiring to see such a wonderful class of young leaders so passionate about promoting kindness and service above self!” said Anderson.

It was also Kyokushaba’s very first time experiencing snow, so the class made sure she got a snow angel- making demonstration before she left.

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