QAE visits Dwankhozi…again!


dh trip 14

Trip members (not in order): DH team members Donna Verhasselt and Beth MacLean; QAE teachers Rachel Marks, Ciara Leckie, Rene Yokoyama, Joe Bailey, and communications specialist Ryan Ward. (not pictured: Laurie Nelson and family)

Ready, set, go! Our second QAE-driven trip to Dwankhozi has begun! This year’s fabulous group (many of them pictured above) is full of Dwankhozi team members, QAE teachers, and a few special guests. We’re so excited that Laurie Nelson, DH’s Executive Director, is meeting up with the group mid-travel (along with her family) and making her FIRST visit to the school!

Be sure to be on the lookout over the next couple of weeks for updates and postings from the team, detailing their time with our Zambian friends. This trip promises to be so fruitful for the QAE-Dwankhozi partnership, as well as for the future direction of the Dwankhozi community. Read some of the group’s thoughts and hopes before they left, reflecting on this upcoming trip:

Rene Yokoyama (QAE teacher, her second trip):
“This time around I feel like I am going to visit family. There is this sense of home and true connection there that can only be felt after experiencing it firsthand. That feeling has fueled my passion to make global connections with my students all year long…QAE students are on fire with desire to connect with this community, thus giving us our goal of student – student connection this summer. I believe that given the opportunity, the students from Dwankhozi will feel the same, I can’t wait to see what their questions and wonders spark and how those will begin to direct the partnership. Last year, we came to Dwankhozi with arms wide open. We were ready to make new friends, learn about their school, and listen. I believe whole heartedly that that gentle approach was what made our connection so natural and genuine. Having listened, learned, and explored, we are now prepared to take our connection beyond teacher-teacher to student-student.”

Laurie Nelson (DH Executive Director, her first trip):
“Beth, Donna & I plan to spend a lot of time in conversation with all kinds of groups of people there – students, the women’s empowerment group, PTA, teachers, the Ministry of Education – to learn more about the community’s own vision for the future as it relates to education.”

Donna Verhasselt (DH Director of Long Term Planning, her second trip):
“For me, this year is about going back to visit friends and to engage in more meaningful conversations about their hopes and dreams for their community.We are bringing many of the basic “things” but the most exciting part for me is that we are  bringing a draft of a 5 year strategic plan that will be shaped and molded by conversations and interactions we have with teachers, women, men, government officials, the PTA,  parents, and students in the community.”

Ryan Ward (Communications Specialist, his first trip):
“The second trip to Dwankhozi will mean continuing to shape relationships with people halfway across the globe. One of the pillars of QAE is to make the students “global citizens”, and this is a concrete way of helping make that happen. By continuing to build these relationships, we can show that we are here to stay and really start making a difference in our students’ lives and the lives of those at Dwankhozi Basic School.”

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