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Cardiff pupils forge ‘lifelong friendship’ with children in Africa

19 October 2015

Children stood in rows smiling - phoenix projec

Two schools thousands of miles apart are using technology to help pupils learn about one another and forge a lifelong friendship

Children from Grangetown Primary in Cardiff and Van Rhyn Primary in Namibia in south-west Africa will meet via regular video link ups as part of a project being run by the University.

It is hoped that an exchange scheme could be set up in future so that pupils can travel to each other’s schools.

Rayno Gentz, a teacher at Van Rhyn Primary School in Windhoek, said: “We are looking forward towards a lifelong partnership between the two schools.

“Information sharing will be essential in the beginning and a long-term goal would be to establish an exchange programme.

“We will start with regular Skype sessions where we will share information about our schools and discuss our diverse cultures.”

Pupils from Van Rhyn Primary

The Namibian pupils are looking forward to learning all about the lives of their counterparts in Wales.

Selma, of Van Rhyn school, said: “I think if our school became partners with Grangetown Primary School in Wales than it will make us a family.

“It would be a nice opportunity because partnership is also a key to friendship and success. I don’t know Wales but I want to learn more.”

Another pupil, Nkungano, said: “I am interested and very curious to find out about the cultures in the UK as you will learn about our different cultures.”

The children will talk about topics such as traditional foods, their languages, their national flags and school activities.

Mweeneni, also a pupil at Van Rhyn school, added: “Together we will be one and reach our goals.”

For the Cardiff pupils, it is a great opportunity to find out what life is like growing up in a different culture thousands of miles away.

Ayman, a Year Six pupil, said he was “a bit nervous but excited” to speak to the Namibian pupils while Tasneem, a Year Five pupil, added: “I would like to find out about the different classes and the different things they learn".

Grangetown primary teacher Louise O’Brien said: “We were very grateful when the Phoenix Project approached our school and asked us if we would like to link with a school in Namibia.

“This is going to be a great learning experience for both schools where we can develop a real understanding of each other’s cultures.”

The Phoenix Project, which supports the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme, is a collaboration between Cardiff University and the University of Namibia.

The project covers themes such as children and infectious diseases, science, women and communication.

It is one of Cardiff University’s flagship engagement projects, otherwise known as the Transforming Communities programme, which work with communities in Cardiff, Wales and beyond in areas including health, education and wellbeing.

Another of the projects, Community Gateway, works with local people in Grangetown to support activities such as developing a community garden, sponsoring the annual festival and taking part in litter picks.