Service in the Global Community
There are currently three global partnership projects run by the school. Historically, this has been known as the 'PROMO' programme, a name created by the pupils who initiated what was "Project Romania Moldova" . Through our global programmes, we aim to provide pupils with an understanding of different ways of living and an education in sustainable development. Pupils across the school also fundraise for different global projects, often linked to their home communities.
Sevenoaks School has collaborated with schools and communities across the world since 1999. Students learn about communities across the world, embracing their way of life and culture through visits in person. They also fundraise for specific community-led projects, and reflect upon the impact of giving. In 2014/15, students visited Rajasthan (SKSN school at Manaklao, north of Jodhpur) and Mumbai (Save the Children India, Sneha Sedan, a home for runaway children, the Vasind Child HIV centre, and schools run by Akanksha), and supported the Mulamula Education Centre Project, a collaborative service-based project between Sevenoaks School and Mulamula Village in the North Eastern Limpopo Province of South Africa. In 2015/16, students again visited Rajasthan, Mumbai and MulaMula. In 2017, students visited Cambodia to work at a school built by United World Schools (UWS), an international charity which builds schools in Cambodia and trains locals to be teachers within those schools; the most obvious impact of these schools is to halve the infant mortality rate in the region. Sevenoaks School had raised money for the building of one of these schools through our charity weeks.
Pupils throughout the school act as pupil ambassadors for EduSpots, a partially pupil-led organisation, which has created a network of people in Ghana and the UK who believe in the power of education as a tool for change. It has helped them to create 37 community-led education spaces, powered by solar, from which they run practical STEM and literacy programmes. In 2019 we were joined in Sevenoaks by the Ghanaian co-founder, Francis Yeboah, who spoke in assemblies and conferences.
Our pupils are involved in the project throughout the year through our service programme, advising on its strategic development and leading the annual UK conference. The EduSTEM group work with Ghanaian pupils and teachers in designing and delivering a practical science curriculum, whilst the EduLIT group create phonics cards with images relevant to the Ghanaian context and lead an annual book drive which sees 15,000 books shipped to Ghana. Pupils are working on a local stories project through which pupils learn about events in Ghanaian communities and work with Ghanaian illustrators in creating story books for primary children. A final group are testing a method for connecting pupils in the UK with Ghana through WhatsApp video, guiding them through a series of topics designed to strengthen global understanding.
Since March 2019, pupils have visited Ghana on annual trips where they have the opportunity to work alongside local volunteers in delivering EduSpots programmes, also learning about the country's rich culture and the slave trade. In 2019 the pupil group also raised funds for a Project Maji solar-powered water station, which provided clean drinking water to Ekawso, a village in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
South Africa Partnership Project
Ahead of the first pupil trip to South Africa in 2019 we were delighted to welcome Donovan Julius to the school, as our first South Africa artist in residence. He spoke at events linked to our first school-wide Global Education week, and working alongside pupils and staff in the art department, also exhibiting his work for sale alongside staff works. Pupils also organise a range of dinners and events in support of the various projects supported by the trip.
On the first trip, pupils worked with Donovan in his home in Swellendan, creating a large art mural around the theme of education on a village wall. They also supported the creation of educational games on the walls and floor of a primary school, and enjoyed collaborative cultural activities with the school community. They also benefited from understanding South Africa's history, with visits to Robben Island, and time spent in Masbiekers Kloof, where the Mozambican slaves took refuge 200 years ago. They worked with local people in clearing a space to enable it to be a sculpture park for local people.
The second week was spent in Pilanesburg National Park where the team were able to work with conservationists, the Rhinoceros Protection Unit, Park Rangers and experts in the field of wildlife, conservation and anti-poaching. They spent time tracking animals and helping carry and transport bricks for an aircraft landing platform to protect the aircraft engine from the dust as it prepares to search for poachers. They also spent a morning with a team of experts and vets while they carried out a process called rhino notching.
Education for All
Each year, pupils produce a beautiful calendar showcasing stunning ‘geography’ related photos taken by members of the school community, raising on average £2000 for EfA. The photos are selected and the calendar designed by a team of Sevenoaks students who work with a professional designer.
All profits from the sale of the calendar help to fund boarding places for impoverished girls in rural Morocco which enables them to attend secondary school. The issue of gender inequalities is taught in the ‘Core’ theme of the IB geography syllabus and the importance of educating women is something which is brought home to our IB Geographers on the annual visit to the High Atlas mountains in Morocco each Easter holiday. Among the Berber villages of the High Atlas mountains students meet women their own age who craved the chance to be educated beyond primary school and also spend some time interacting with the girls at the boarding house in Asni who are fortunate enough to directly benefit from the EfA charity.