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School Partnership
Saturday, 13 April 2013 Written by Uta Leymann

Uta LeymannSchool Partnership between the Hönne-Berufskolleg (HBK), Menden, Germany and the Padri Vjeko School, Kivumu, Rwanda

For more than 10 years the Padri Vjeko Vocational Training Center in Rwanda has been made a subject of teaching at HBK. It began in the context of Religious Instruction classes visiting the Museum of the Franciscans in Werl. There we learnt about the Padri Vjeko School in Rwanda and motivated by the visit we have used it in our teaching as an example for the subjects solidarity, living in one world, development aid etc.

Over the years more and more teachers and student groups have worked on different subjects and there have been a multitude of project and activities. Often the main focus has been on the collecting of donations which can be recognized in the motto: students help students. Of course the students have often seen the collecting of donations under a more competitive aspect, but it has always also been about the interest in the people, their way of life, their problems and the country.

So information stalls were prepared, pizza, cookies, jam produced and sold, a Café Rwanda installed, secondhand books sold, offerings undertaken, bracelets bound and many more activities conducted. The Padri Vjeko School was even the subject of a state exam at the end of teacher training. Last year an ecumenical mass was celebrated with Brother Augustinus of the Franciscan Mission in Dortmund, where a part of the donations was handed over. And from those donations the English book that every student will receive at the beginning of next term was financed. All those actions fall and fell under the main headline: engagement and empathy for the people as well as addressing the problems of globalization. In doing so the communicative exchange and the ecumenical idea are of importance.

Although I haven’t been a colleague of the HBK since July 2012 I am obviously still very interested in the partnership. So I will report back to the students and the staff extensively after my return. Here in Kivumu I did the same by bringing some small gifts from the students, such as photos, a picture book and a piece of intarsia woodwork as well as telling the students here about the German students.

However the communication between the two schools and especially between the German and Rwandese students will always be very difficult. The main problem is and will be the language barrier. So one shouldn’t expect too much.

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