Global Education Experience
The Global Education Experience is an inter-provincial development project of the Presentation Sisters in Ireland in cooperation with other provinces and units of the congregation. For each participating school the experience involves two phases.
About the Project
Once a school has expressed an interest in the project, two or three teachers are invited to visit the places of mission that would be their ultimate destination with a group of ten to twelve students. To date teachers have visited centres in Zambia and India. Activities for the week include visiting the schools in the host country that are linked to the project, meeting with the teachers and exchanging ideas on the best ways of developing the links between the schools and making the best use of time when the students from Ireland make their trip to the host country.
On their return to Ireland, the teachers report to their Board of Management and senior management and a decision is made about the feasibility of the project for their school at that time. If a decision is made to engage with the next phase, the teachers spend the following school year working with the students who will travel over the next summer, engaging with them about development issues, preparing them for the experience and fundraising to cover the costs of the project and to raise some funds for the centres they will visit.
The Story So Far
To date schools from Presentation de La Salle (Bagenalstown), Presentation Secondary School (Ballyphehane, Cork), Presentation College (Carlow), Clane Community School (Clane), Crosshaven, Coláiste Chiaráin (Leixlip), St. Joseph's College (Lucan), Midleton and Rockford Manor (Dublin) have been involved in the project.
In 2007, students and staff from Bagenalstown, Carlow and Clane travelled to Zambiua as part of the project. In 2008, Antoinette Donoghue, Bernadette Fitzgerald and Michelle Dunne from St. Joseph’s College Lucan along with Mary Forrest and Patricia O’Donovan from Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane in Cork visited two schools in Chennai, India. The hope was to link Lucan with Vepery and Ballyphehane with Perambur. The local communities and the principals, Sr. Gracy and Sr. Jeyarani, along with the staffs made everyone welcome. The trip was a wonderful experience and those who travelled are extremely grateful to the sisters in Chennai for the hospitality shown to them. The groups were saddened to hear earlier this year of the death of Sr. Denis who had welcomed them with open arms each time they visited Perambur - may she rest in peace.
Teachers from Coláiste Chiaráin in Leixlip and Mountmellick Community School visited Kalomo in Zambia in May 2008. Both schools decided to take the project further and students and teachers travelled to Zambia in May 2009. The Mountmellick group (three teachers and ten students) travelled on May 4th and the Leixlip group (four teachers and twelve students) on May 25th. Both groups were very well organised and school and local community support has been great. They are accompanied on their visit by Sr. Mary Rossiter, a member of the GEE Group and Sr. Teresa Walsh. It is wonderful to hear the stories of the generosity of people even in these harsher financial times. The Lexlip group have created their own webpage about their involvement in the project. You can access it by clicking here.
GEE Gathering in Ballygriffin
To celebrate this special year for all Nano’s family a gathering of all those who are and have been involved in Global Education Experience (GEE) took place in Ballygriffin on Saturday 21st March 2009. It was a wonderful sunny day and Ballygriffen was at its best as the entire group of 54 gathered outside to start the day in prayer and song. During the day participants heard the story of Nano, wonderfully relayed by Sr. Frances and after a delicious wholesome lunch were brought on a guided tour conducted by Srs. Paula and Frances.
It was also a day of input given by Rosalind Duke this was an interactive session where all present were involved and thus making the issue of cotton production thought provoking and challenging. Later in the day people shared on their experience of GEE and what it all means to them. People shared honestly and very movingly of how the trip has influenced their lives and how they still feel connected to the people they met and had befriended while away from home.
The GEE group (of Presentation Sisters) plays a supporting role to each of these groups, travelling to the schools to meet with the teachers and students while also being at the end of a phone to give assistance when called upon.
Zambia Trips 2009
Students and staff from three schools visited Zambai this summer. They were Presentation College Carlow, Colaiste Chiaráin Leixlip and Mountmellick Community School. We have reports from all three visits - just click the headings on the navigation bar to the left for information on any of the trips.
The GEE group (that is the inter-provincial group of sisters) is very grateful for the support of this project by the three provinces in Ireland and the leadership teams in Zambia and India. Special thanks to all at local level both here in Ireland and in the host countries for their help and assistance, without which the project would not be possible.
[Messages to Mary Rossiter]