A busy August for Face to Faith
As always the Face to Faith Programme is growing from strength to strength.
I started August working with teachers in the Palestinian territories; delivering two day teacher training workshops in Nablus, Hebron, and Ramallah. In spite of the variety of very particular challenges that teachers have to overcome in that region, the enthusiasm and energy of the participants was absolutely fabulous – there was a real sense that the programme would be a vital tool to help give young Palestinians a voice with which they can speak to their peers around the world. Although it was very hot, all the teachers kept their energy going right through both days – a lot of schools have already registered, and we look forward to the first video conferences linking up schools in the region with other young people around the world. We owe a great deal of thanks to our local coordinator – Dr Ghassan Abdallah, and his hard-working team, who ensured that the organisation and delivery of the workshops went so smoothly.
Then on to India, where I delivered four one day workshops – three of them for new schools (and we’ve now got schools from Indian states than Delhi involved in the programme), and one for schools with some experience. The latter was particularly interesting, as we had some outstanding discussions, with principals and teachers sharing their experiences, and the benefits that they had experienced from taking part. The three workshops for new schools were marvellous as well – with participants getting stuck in with great enthusiasm, particularly as their interest had already been whetted by some outstanding short workshops led by our local coordinator, Simmi Kher.
The highlight for me was the opportunity to visit some of the schools that have been taking part, and meet some of the students in person, who I had only previously met via video-conference. It’s very apparent that the keenest advocates of the programme are the students, and that it is their enthusiasm for taking part that has driven everything else (which is just as it should be – as the students are the most important part of the whole thing). The warmth of the hospitality, often expressed through the most beautiful traditional ways (lamp lighting ceremonies, garlanding, song and dance) was almost literally over-whelming, but it was the passion of the students for the programme, their enthusiasm, and their joy in taking part that has left the most profound and vivid memories. Each and every group of students that I encountered had so many penetrating questions, and superb ideas on how the programme could be improved – many of which I hope that we’ll be able to put into action soon. So I would like to salute the students of Bal Bharati School Pitampura, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sainik Vihar, Shi Venkateshwara International School, and Apeejay School Pitampura; because the way in which they’ve approached this programme is simply exemplary.