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by Kendal (Owlkids)
Kids / September 27, 2011
With September drawing to a close, kids have been “off to class” for a few weeks now. The grumblings about homework have probably begun, and all those recently bought school supplies might already be looking a little worse for wear. But this isn’t the case everywhere. Worldwide, there are over 100 million kids are missing out on getting an education. Sometimes, a community doesn’t have the necessary resources to build a school; other times, kids have to work to earn money for their families and can’t afford to spend time in a classroom. In even more cases, kids aren’t allowed to go to school because of their gender, their background, or their citizenship, or they live in remote areas or ones hit by natural disasters. Kinda makes you feel guilty for already starting the countdown to Winter Break, huh?
Luckily, there are some really amazing and creative people who have stepped in to help these kids get the education they deserve. In Off to Class
, Susan Hughes profiles some of the world’s most unique and unusual schools — built to overcome each community’s particular hurdle. In this book, readers will travel to Bangladesh to hop aboard a Boat School, an ingenious idea to ensure students don’t miss class during Bangladesh’s monsoon season; trek to Shree Santi Primary School in Nepal, where children from all castes are welcome; and go out on a limb to visit Grand Oaks Academy in the USA, a home school in a tree house.
One of our favourite schools in the book is School-in-a-Box, which UNICEF hand-delivered to Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Each box contains everything a teacher needs to set up a classroom on the spot, including a special can of paint that can be used to turn a box lid into a blackboard. UNICEF sends these kits all over the world to help kids get back to school after disasters, and also to places where wars keep kids from going to school. Owlkids was so inspired by this that we recently partnered with UNICEF
to try and raise money to send 630 of these Schools-in-a-Box to kids in need.
Our hope for Off to Class
is that it inspires some young readers in the same way — or, at the very least, that it gets them to think about their school (and homework) in a whole new way!
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