Many students take the opportunity to travel and participate in Global Service Trips during school holidays. This Spring Break was no different, although one recent service trip to Ethiopia was unique in its nature.
TASIS Lugano hosted an experimental, collaborative service learning trip with TASIS England. It was the first of its kind, to determine how the sister schools can join forces and share resources to further develop service learning, both within and between the schools. One TASIS England student decided to “take a chance.” Mackenzie ’17 traveled independently to join the TASIS Lugano students and faculty in Ethiopia. There they worked with the Nuovo Fiore organization, a non-profit foundation that aims to aid, encourage, and promote the education of young children across Africa, especially in Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The TASIS students learned about the economic, political, and social inequalities prevalent in Ethiopia. They also taught classes, furnished supplies, and provided love and warmth to the students at Auxilium Catholic School, located in Addis Ababa. Advancing the local students’ level of English will assist in their continued development, and help them build a better future for themselves, their family, and ultimately their country. The TASIS students encouraged the girls in particular to be more vocal and confident, to help address the gender inequality that is deeply rooted in Ethiopian society.
Mackenzie described the trip as one she will never forget. “I found myself challenged daily, thinking on my feet about lessons to teach the students, with minimal resources, that would keep the students engaged while continuing their education. I hope to return to Auxilium Catholic School and assist in developing an on-site library, and to source solar panels for the school. The students at Auxilium are passionate about their education and are determined to succeed and help support their families. The students’ hopes and goals are very similar to our own—they dream of a successful future, while hoping to experience new cultures and embrace new opportunities.”
The trip, supported by Uta Reinikainen at TASIS England and Zach Mulert and Dr. Chris Love at TASIS Lugano, proved to be a success and will open doors for future collaboration between the two schools.