Dragons Apprentice Challenge

Dragons The Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge, organised by the Watford & Three Rivers Trust, offers year 12 students from local schools and colleges the opportunity to experience setting up and running a business, gaining organisational and job related skills and learning about the work of their chosen charity. The challenge to participants is to turn £100 into £1,000+ for the charity.

It is the Steve Sinnott Foundation’s first time joining the challenge. It’s been a great experience so far.

We are partnered with Miracle Makers from West Herts College and our “Dragon” is Jury’s Inn. Miracle Makers have been brilliant to work with and have done a great job raising awareness of our work in Watford, UK as well as raising over £1,000 so far – selling gloves and hand warmers, having a stall at Watford market, a raffle, a fun day for children at the Attico Art Gallery during half-term.

Congratulations and well done to everyone involved for your hard work and determination.

Money is not the only currency

NamibIn a museum in the coastal town of Swakopmund in Namibia is a display about the country’s Himba people. It is headed with a quotation, “We lose our children by sending them to school”.

It is alarming. It seems to challenge every assumption upon which the great effort for Education for All has been founded. At the Steve Sinnott Foundation we repeatedly proclaim education as a fundamental right of every child. But what if it is a right that parents and their children and their children’s children choose not to exercise, a choice made because their lives, though tough in our terms, are happy and full of joy under African skies or in the beautiful remote lands of South Asia and South America. Is our effort to secure Education for All in part perhaps a new benevolent imperialism of the wealthy “west” or, even more darkly, an all too cynical investment in a future pool of cheap skilled labour ?

They’re questions that almost cannot be asked. So much depends on avoiding them.

At the Steve Sinnott Foundation we do not fear the answers, because they are the answers that teachers the world over articulate every day in the work they do and in the commitments they make. That is why the Steve Sinnott Foundation was established to make a special contribution to Education for All.

On the next display in the museum at Swakopmund, the alarming quotation is explained a little more and it takes on a different tone. “Modern Himba children go to school where they are taught according to Western knowledge systems, with little respect for or attention to indigenous knowledge and values”.  The complaint is not that parents do not want education for their children, it is rather that what they are taught and the way they are taught cuts them off from their history and their culture.

It does not have to be, nor should it be.  We in the so-called developed world must stop assuming that our wealth gives us authority to dominate.  The Steve Sinnott Foundation advocates the use of a different currency, one that does not use material wealth as the means of exchange. We can use instead the riches of the best features of history and culture respecting and valuing all equally.

We must also stop misrepresenting countries in the developing world just as places where children sit forlorn, doe-eyed and tearful, tugging at
our heartstrings and our pockets against a background of soft music. Steve himself would tell stories of children so eager for education that
they could not comprehend the idea of truancy. His experiences were proof that there is in these countries an eagerness for knowledge and
understanding that we have a duty to satisfy. It is not a duty of charity and compassion. It is an obligation to share – and we are guaranteed a rich
return. That we believe is the right way to secure educational development – as Steve said “Working together, winning together”.

ENGAGE Issue 12

ENGAGE 12 cover Issue 12 of ENGAGE for Winter 2015/15 is available now. Following the adoption by the United Nations of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, this issue focuses on quality in education with the assertion from Foundation Chair, Jerry Glazier that “Education without a transforming and enabling quality should never be described as education.”

UNESCO Secretary General, Irina Bokova explains why education can be transformative only if it carries meaning and opportunities for all children and young people. Marie Antoinette Corr, General Secretary of the Gambia Teachers Union, Sierra Leonean teacher A A Kamara, University of London professor Dr. Aminul Huque and award winning children’s author Alan Gibbons describe what quality education means to them. Former UK Government Schools Minister Lord (Jim) Knight poses his question about quality education “What makes you get up in the morning ?”

This issue also has two special features on the role of technology to support teaching and learning. UK business leader and non-aligned peer, Lord Digby Joness talks to Foundation’s Executive Manager Ann Beatty about his views on the essentials for education in the coming robot age and UNESCO Chair in ICT4D Professor Tim Unwin offers his ten lessons for the effective use of technology in teaching and learning.

There’s more from Emily Pemberton and George Watts, the 2015 winners of the Steve Sinnott Award to be the 2015 Young Ambassadors for the Send My Friend to School campaign. In ENGAGE 12 they describe their visit to Ghana to investigate progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by the end of 2015.

… and news and updates from the Foundation as we encourage schools to join the UNESCO Associated Schools network and set about our new project to establish a worldwide network of Foundation branded Learning Resource Centres – starting in Haiti still struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake.

For copies of ENGAGE please contact Ann Beatty at admin@stevesinnottfoundation.org.uk. Click here to view online

Isle of Wight Joint Fundraising Challenge

Walking  IoW

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th May 2016

There are hundreds of miles of interesting walking routes across the UK’s Isle of Wight which immerse you in some of the most beautiful landscapes; rugged coastal walks and enchanting forest trails take you to discover the Isle of Wight’s many hidden treasures; striking chalk geology and great views out to sea. We are organising a range of easy and more difficult walks so that everyone can join in the fun.

If you are interested in taking part please email ann.beatty@stevesinnottfoundation.org.uk or call 01923 431653 to register your interest

Singing for Sierra Leone

Divas The Denham Divas are a group of women who love to sing. They have a variety of songs and have grown into a substantial choir with around thirty members. They sing for fun, health and well-being, aiming to work towards and achieve the highest possible standard within their capabilities. The Divas share their love of singing and songs with members of the wider community by singing to them and with them.

These appreciative audiences like to pay for their services. All contributions are sent to the Steve Sinnott Foundation – currently to support our Sierra Leone project. Many of the choir members are ex-teachers who feel passionately about the cause. When the next cohort of teachers comes to the UK from Sierra Leone for training with the Foundation’s Education Team, there are plans to set up a Skype session so that the two groups can share the universal joy of singing.