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Monday, August 22, 2016

Sitwe Joseph Goes to School - Twesigye Jackson Kaguri

This is a fantastic book.
We were invited by the school board to investigate African culture and then represent our learning through art work.  This book was listed as suggested reading so that students could be inspired and create.  Another resource listed was the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign.  The local chapter is called Grandmothers to Grandothers.  I invited them to talk to the students.  They were more than happy to come and talk to us.  It was a great visit! The ladies were so informed and passionate.  Their focus is to 'give of ourselves because we have so much to give - so many resources, such a relative abundance of time, so much access so much influence, so much empathy and compassion.'

Sitwe Joseph wants to go to school.  He is determined even though his grandmother can't afford it.  His job is to gather firewood for his family.  Sitwe Joseph wants to become a doctor so that he can care for his Mukaaka (Grandmother).  He hears about an AIDS Orphan School and through his determination he is allowed to go and fulfill his dream.

The Grandmothers brought us a wooden map of Africa with the word Ubuntu on it.  This now hangs proudly in my library.  Ubuntu describes 'compassion; a humanity towards other, a sense of one's own existence being enriched by those around us, and that a person becomes human through their caring and considerate interactions with others.' What a universal concept; one that I would like all students to embrace.  'A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole, and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished.'  This SHOULD be a universal concept, but is not understood as much in the west.  Through our study of these texts, I hoped to show students how Grandmothers in Africa work to provide for their grandchildren but often for other children in a village that may not be related.  Ubuntu is fundamental to the way Africans approach life.  Maybe we can show students in Canada how we can all benefit from this philosophy.

The campaign aims to:

Encourage awareness in Canada about Africa's grandmothers' struggle to raise children orphaned by AIDS, build solidarity amongst African and Canadian grandmothers in the fight against HIV/AIDS and actively support projects that help African grandmothers.

You and your students can learn more about the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Grandmothers to Grandmothers at:

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