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A global education

We explore how Global Action’s approach to school trips is engaging young people in learning about global issues, resulting in an empowered alumni of positive-thinking Global Citizens

When Global Action founders Mark and Katharine Giffard-Lindsay returned to the UK from working for international aid organisations in the Himalayas, they soon realised they wanted their children to develop a global outlook. ‘Global Action was born out of a strong desire to do something that would have a long-lasting positive impact on our children’s mindset and actions,’ explains Katharine. ‘All parents want their children to have a happy childhood, but not to grow up in a bubble. We want our children to be exposed to global issues, and appreciate the freedoms and choices many of us take for granted.’

Global Action takes school teams to fascinating places where they experience new cultures, and re-evaluate their place in the world. ‘Nepal, India, Costa Rica, Zanzibar, and Borneo offer so many global learning opportunities, we find they appeal across the curriculum – the Himalayas, tropical jungles or coral reefs? A focus on poverty reduction, conservation or social justice? Geneva is slightly different, in that it’s a city trip focussed on the work of UN agencies and international organisations. One of our students was inspired to study international law at Cambridge university after this trip.’

Because both directors have worked in international development, Global Action has access to people working in international and local NGOs (charities) who are keen to share their experiences. As Mark highlights, ‘The aim is to inspire the next generation to think critically, globally and make a difference through their actions. But we want them to have fun too! They get to develop all those soft skills employers are looking for like teamwork, communication and problem solving, without realising they’re doing it. When you spend the morning with a women’s co-operative farming seaweed on a Zanzibari beach, or help rebuild a school destroyed in the Nepal earthquake, it gets you thinking differently. Also, it shows students how their actions, or local people’s projects, can make a real difference to improve quality of life. They come home with new ideas, as global citizens.’ That is global learning for positive change.

Case Study: Nepal

Niamh Reavill, Godolphin School

What was your most memorable experience?

The trip, as a whole, was full of many memories but my most memorable experience was being able to play a basketball game with the children at Tibetan School, Srongtsen. Although, as an all-girls team that had never played basketball before, we were rather poor, it was so much fun and ended up with our whole group on the court, whilst still managing to lose.

Which organisation inspired you the most?

I found DFID most interesting to listen to due to the depth and interesting content they provided. All of the team were extremely passionate about what they do and gave us an insight into life in Nepal with global affairs. With Nepal being the second poorest country in Asia, with very high political instability and had major natural disasters such as the earthquake in 2015, DFID talked to us about their schemes, such as infrastructure care and plans, helping to provide safer and more durable buildings to reduce the impact of natural disasters.

What’s the most important thing you learnt?

No matter what, we should always be grateful for what we have. On comparing Nepal to UK, there was a huge difference. The streets were narrow and dusty, with seas of people day and night, the people all work very hard and, in most cases, for very little money. The children in the school lived miles away from their parents with no internet or new clothes, just the bare basics and simple things in life. We were digging a hole to install a clean water system to reduce childhood diseases at the school, something we take for granted every day.  If I could go back to Nepal, I would with doubt. Our time there was absolutely eye opening and taught me so much.

Adam Reavill, Godolpin School, Head of CCF

What were the highlights of the trip for you?

“Watching our students interact with the Nepali pupils at schools where we have been doing work.  Despite the language barrier they have been brilliant communicating with a few words and hand signals.  They have laughed together with the Nepali children and really enjoyed the interactive nature of the time spent in those schools. A close second has been spotting rhinos while riding an elephant into the steamy jungle at dawn – something to be remembered for ever.”

Case Study: Geneva

Arun Mistry, Rugby School

What inspired you to go on this Geneva trip?

I decided to go on the Geneva Trip because at the time I was studying A-level politics, and found the idea of visiting Geneva, home of the WTO, WHO and European hub of the UN an exciting prospect. I went to help me perform better in my A-Levels and also to see in person where global environmental, political and economic forum takes place.

What was your most memorable experience?

I found the most memorable experience was visiting the international Red Cross museum. This is especially because I was able to experience the major challenges of today’s world, the defence of human dignity and reduction of natural risks.

What’s the most important thing you learnt?

This trip definitely influenced my plans after school and future career prospects. Before the trip, I had my aims set on working for a public body, like the civil service, where I could potentially have a positive impact on British society. But after seeing the work of IGO’s such as the UNHCR and its positive impact, I am now aiming for a career in global government.

Paul Teeton, Rugby School, Head of Politics and International Relations

What were the highlights of the trip for you?

“A sobering visit to the UNHCR and a truly insightful lecture given by the staff of this wonderful organisation provided us all with a fresh appreciation of the work so many UN personnel perform in some of the most challenging conflict zones in the world.”




If you’d like to know more, visit www.global-action.co.uk

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