Rebecca Docherty completed a work placement with South Lanarkshire Televison. Her assignment was to produce a short video. She chose to focus this on Burkina Faso and Hamilton College’s involvement and links there.
In Summer 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 S6 pupils, teachers, parents and friends went to Burkina Faso to spend just over 2 weeks working with A.E.A.D (in English, Evangelistic Association for Social Development), who run two schools, a Medical centre and are currently building a new skills centre for young men to learn trades and crafts. A.E.A.D is an N.G.O (Non-Government Organisation). They spent time in Ouagadougou (the capital city of Burkina Faso) and Gourcy, a small town 3 hours drive north of Ouagadougou.
This is part of Tearfund's "Transform" Project. The Transform programme's philosophy is that in making a small transformation in the lives of others, a much bigger transformation occurs in the lives of the young people.
In 2008 the team got involved in a variety of projects including tree-planting, painting a new building at the medical centre, repairing a fence around the trees in Gourcy, participating at youth events (including performing "Strip the Willow"), working with children as well as visiting many places where A.E.A.D is working and making a difference in people's lives.
In 2009 the team were involved in a variety of activities whilst in Africa: tree-planting, practical work in the school including building a bike shed (so that the bikes can be in the shade whilst the children are in school), practical work in the medical centre and taking classes in the schools with the pupils. We also connected a small lab of computers in the school in Ouagadougou to the Internet.
The 2010 team were once again involved with teaching English in both Ouagadougou and Gourcy and were able to build on the work done by previous years teams with students. A music camp was run for pupils while the team were in Gourcy and further painting of artwork on the walls of classrooms in the nursery was completed in the school in Ouagadougou. The team had also brought out 15 new compact PC’s from Scotland thanks to a donation and these were installed in the school in Ouagadougou. These computers all have Internet access and are up-to-date computers allowing students to do research and complete work that they would otherwise have been unable to do.
The trips have had a profound effect on all participants. They felt that, on returning to the UK, that they had a better understanding of the culture they experienced, and of themselves. Some commented on how materialistic they felt that we have become in the west and they realised that they had learned so much from the people who live in Burkina Faso. They felt that they had gained a new perspective on life and were more passionate about helping people. They felt that they were more motivated to respond to issues such as fair trade, and that their practical experience in Africa had helped them to really understand about community, and how generous the people in Burkina Faso are.
Miss Clarke and Mrs Cunningham visited Burkina Faso in February 2009 to begin to develop this partnership and it has been further developed with a formal link that has been established through the British Council. Funding was secured for reciprocal visits between the school with Mrs Cunningham and Dr Bergin going out to Burkina Faso in October 2010 to start to develop curricular links. Dramane Ouédragogo, head teacher of the school in Ouagadougou visited Hamilton College in April 2011 as part of the British Council project.
In 2011, Hamilton College developed a formal link with the Burkina Faso school through the British Council's Schools Partnerships Programme, it is hoped that both schools will benefit in many curricular areas.