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Buckingham Friends students learn about global poverty, sustainability


Eighth-grade students at Buckingham Friends School, a co-ed independent K-8 Quaker school in Lahaska, recently attended their annual trip to a Heifer Global Village site.

“Heifer International’s mission to end global hunger and poverty aligns perfectly with both our curriculum and the Quaker mission of stewardship and service,” said Stephanie Thliveris, the Upper School coordinator leading the group.

The year’s Global Village, located in Sharpsburg, Md., 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 four 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.

The 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 eighth-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 year-long sustainability service project.

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