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‘I don’t believe in defeat’: Kenyan MP visits Romford school for international lesson shared with Kenyan pupils

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:52 13 November 2018

Pupils at St Edward's Church of England School participated in a live lesson linked up with Kanyuambora school in Kenya.

Pupils at St Edward's Church of England School participated in a live lesson linked up with Kanyuambora school in Kenya.

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Romford pupils took part in a special lesson that saw them learning about equality with students in Kenya via Skype.

Pupils at St Edward's Church of England Primary School created a display about their experiences connecting with a school in Kenya.Pupils at St Edward's Church of England Primary School created a display about their experiences connecting with a school in Kenya.

Sophia Abdi Noor, the first woman to be elected to parliament from the North Eastern province in Kenya, visited St Edward’s Church of England Primary school in Havering Drive on Friday, November 9 to take part in a lesson linked up with the Kanyuambora School in Kenya.

Year 6 pupils at the Romford school have been taking part in the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme, a partnership between the Department for International Development and the British Council.

Rosanna Goldstein, a Year 6 teacher at St Edward’s, visited the Kanyuambora School in February this year.

She told the Recorder: “The children [in Kenya] were all so well behaved. They would have around 60 children in one class and sometimes they were led by the students themselves.

“They were also very welcoming and proud of their school. They made pathways out of flower petals leading into all of their classrooms.

“It was really humbling.”

MP Sophia Noor from Kenya visit St Edward's Church of England Primary School on Friday, November 9.MP Sophia Noor from Kenya visit St Edward's Church of England Primary School on Friday, November 9.

At the start of the lesson the English and Kenyan children shared what they had learned about equality with each other.

Pupils from St Edward’s Church of England Primary school spoke about the different jobs men and women can do together, such as cooking and cleaning the house.

These roles were quite different to the jobs suggested by the Kenyan students, as they listed activities such as constructing mud huts, praying and farming, as jobs that both men and women could do.

Despite their different cultures and upbringings, the pupils from Romford and Kenya came to the same conclusion - that men and women do the same jobs no matter what their gender is.

To bring the session to an end, the Romford pupils sang a Kenyan song to their new international friends.

“Children often say something is their right, without really knowing what they are referring to,” said Mrs Goldstein.

MP Sophia Noor from Kenya visit St Edward's Church of England Primary School on Friday, November 9.MP Sophia Noor from Kenya visit St Edward's Church of England Primary School on Friday, November 9.

“I think the children are more aware of the language they use now.”

The Connecting Classrooms programme aims to raise awareness about global issues amongst young people and to provide them with key sills and attitudes to be able to live and work in a global economy.

As part of the project, schools are encouraged to learn about the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

St Edward’s Church of England Primary School chose to focus on issues around recycling and growing.

They committed to a Zero Waste project which involved the pupils building a greenhouse out of recycled plastic bottles.

Speaking about the linked-up lesson to Kenya, Mrs Goldstein added: “I don’t really think they have done something like this before, and they were all a bit overwhelmed.

MP Sophia Noor from Kenya and Rosanna Goldstein, Year 6 teacher at St Edward's Church of England Primary School on Friday, November 9.MP Sophia Noor from Kenya and Rosanna Goldstein, Year 6 teacher at St Edward's Church of England Primary School on Friday, November 9.

“They were very impressed at having such a special visitor.”

Ms Noor visited London as part of the Female MPs of the World event at Westminster on Thursday, November 8.

She is passionate about human rights, and particularly in championing women’s rights.

The Ijara MP recently won the Pride of Africa Women Award at a summit in Nambia which is aimed at strengthening political understanding of women’s role in conflict prevention and post-conflicts peace building.

Plenty of the St Edward’s pupils had questions for the MP after hearing about her battle of 20 years to become an MP in her constituency, Ijara.

Ms Noor told the students: “After school I became a teacher, and then I started a non-profit organisation because some of the classes I taught didn’t have classrooms, desks or water.

MP Sophia Noor from Kenya, admired a display pupils at St Edward's Church of England Primary School created about their experiences connecting with a school in Kenya.MP Sophia Noor from Kenya, admired a display pupils at St Edward's Church of England Primary School created about their experiences connecting with a school in Kenya.

“I wanted to do more than the charity work, so I asked for people to vote for me so that I could serve them as my MP.

“I won enough votes but I was denied [the seat] by my president. I was being discriminated against by my own government.

“I never stopped fighting, because I don’t believe in defeat. After 20 years of struggling, I finally won the seat.”

She added that the Kanyuambora School and St Edward’s Church of England school could help each other in terms of, “sharing” knowledge and best practices.

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