BFS Teaches Students About Global Poverty & Sustainability
Eighth grade students at Buckingham Friends School, a coed independent K-8 Quaker school in Lahaska, PA, recently attended their annual trip to a Heifer Global Village Site. Stephanie Thliveris, the Upper School Coordinator leading the group, remarked, “Heifer International’s mission to end global hunger and poverty aligns perfectly with both our curriculum and the Quaker mission of stewardship and service.”
The year’s Global Village, located in Sharpsburg, Maryland, featured a collection of full-size replica dwellings from various international communities, such as Thailand, Guatemala, Mozambique, and Kenya. The homes ranged from mud huts and stilt bamboo houses, to a refugee camp with just a wooden platform. The students visited for 4 days, learning about different cultures, socio-economic situations, and global hunger and poverty. The trip culminated with students becoming “citizens” of specific countries for an overnight stay, providing students the opportunity to truly step into someone else’s shoes. The children assumed roles and responsibilities of individuals within those communities and needed to work together to find supplies, build a fire, and barter services for what little food they could find. This immersive trip allowed the students to explore issues related to the unequal distribution of resources and begin to understand the complex trade-offs people are faced with in order to provide for their families and/or community.
The Heifer trip serves both as a bonding experience for students as they begin the school year, but also to support the 8th grade year long project addressing these key issues. Aligning with their science and social issues curriculum, the students will take the Heifer model knowledge they learned to develop a yearlong sustainability service project. Says Thliveris, “Our goal for our students is to become engaged citizens of the world. The Heifer trip is an experience that they take home and breath life into all year long.”