Edulink, the vendor that provides our Teacher Evaluation software, came to us with a wonderful opportunity to engage with the orphanage they sponsor in Uganda called Malayaka House. They asked if we could donate books for those children, and we happily accepted.
Keri Boyer, librarian at Turner Elementary, selected fifty non-fiction books, primarily biographies, from the former high school library for the Malayaka House children. Today, a student run organization from Penn State University, called Empower Orphans, will be taking a trip to Uganda to deliver those books in person.
We also took this as an opportunity to give our students a chance to connect with children across the world. Accompanying the books are letters from Turner Elementary School’s 5th and 6th grade students. Before the students wrote their letters, Jordan Manos, Turner’s School Counselor, and their teachers showed students a video about Malayaka House. Afterwards, they discussed topics including poverty, poor living conditions, and the effects of having a lack of food, clean drinking water, clothing, electricity, and medical care.
Students and teachers also talked about the importance of compassion and empathy towards others and how grateful they are for what they have. When writing their letters, students kept these conversations and the video that they watched in mind, so that they could be conscious about what they wrote to their peers in Uganda. They knew they couldn’t write about favorite video games or movies and found other topics to talk about instead.
The students hope the children at Malayaka House enjoy reading their letters and write back. They would love to be pen pals.
Malayaka House “provides the most vulnerable orphaned and abandoned Ugandan children with a safe and loving home, education, and vocational training so they may grow into self-reliant citizens whose lives are full of opportunity and promise.”
The Wilkinsburg School District is proud to support such a mission.