Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I have a friend of friend who is a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa in the Northwest Province. She has a project she is doing with her students and kids and she needs some help. I truly invite you to join with her and partner on this project. The time commitment is minimal. But see if you are interested and would like to help. Whether or not you are, please pass it on as it’s a worthwhile venture that the students are really excited about.
The letter is below.

Hey everybody,

Forgive me for sending an email to everyone who has managed to make it onto my contact list, but I'm working on a project and I could use a whole lot of help.

Below is a letter explaining our project and the type of help I need. Please take a minute and read it, and if you can't help please pass this along to anyone you know who can help. We already have lots of people to correspond with in the US, so if you're living there and you know someone living abroad, if you can forward this email to them I'd be super thankful (not that I want this to become one of those chain letters that you email to everyone you know...please, please don't do that!).

Questions? Email me back!

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thutlwane Village, North West Province, South Africa. Earlier this year, there was a rash of xenophobic attacks on immigrants from African and Asian nations in which over 20 people died and thousands were displaced. Unfortunately, I also witness xenophobia in my community. I decided I wanted to combat the isolation and ignorance that breeds xenophobic hate and fear by helping the students at my middle school learn about different cultures and countries around the world. From this decision the Gaserengwe Middle School World Map Project was born.

The project uses the World Map Project Handbook to create a world map mural. My students and I have chosen to expand this project to include both primary and secondary research on countries around the world, and a community event to unveil our mural and share what we have learned about other countries.

Students involved in the project have amazed me with their enthusiasm for the project and their ambition. The students set their own goals for the project and then broke those goals down into the tasks that we are working together to fulfill. Their goals are:
- Our goal is to get a president (past or present) of South Africa to come to Thutlwane Village to see our project.
- Our goal is to invite the community and have more than 50 people from the community come to International Day.
- Our goal is to make a mural of a world map that is attractive to people.
- Our goal is to invite people from other countries and have 10-20 people from other countries come to International Day.
- Our goal is to contact at least 100 people from other countries in order to learn about their country and culture.

It is this last goal I am writing to request help with. Students in the project would like to write to people around the world in order to get primary information on a variety of nations. I am hoping that I can connect my students with people living in nations all over the world who would be interested in corresponding with my students (one or two letters). We are planning on communicating primarily through the post, but we also have limited email access and would be open to corresponding electronically.

Any assistance would be appreciated. As you can see, the students have set lofty goals but their commitment and excitement have re-inspired me to do everything I can to support their dreams. I hope you will also work to support their efforts.

In the spirit of dreaming big and effecting positive change,

Erin "Refilwe" Gannon
P.O. Box 1973
Mafikeng 2745
South Africa

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