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Story and Photos by Maka Kapanadze | Project Assistant | Heifer Georgia
The history of New School began in 1999, and today is the first and only fully authorized bilingual international school in Georgia that offers complete educational programs for pre-school through grade 12. New School tends to build a diverse community of lifelong learners, who are prepared to make a difference in an ever-changing world.
The school has 600 pupils representing more than 30 different nationalities. Apprentices from New School raised money to donate to Heifer International. As this was the first case of fundraising from individuals in Georgia, I decided to visit and interview the initiator, Jessica Ream, Grade 1A teacher of New School, together with the kids.
Jessica recalled, “I started out with Heifer at my prior post as an International School Teacher in the country of Colombia. I was assigned the job of finding a reputable service learning project for the elementary and found Heifer. I went to Heifer University for Educators in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, and participated in the study tour for educators in Honduras. I will carry these learning experiences with me always and did when I came here to Georgia to teach at New School.
I knew Heifer was well-established due to the regional director’s presentation at Heifer University, so I was on the lookout for how to get involved with Heifer. I contacted George Murvanidze, Heifer Georgia Country Director, and he was thankfully open to meeting with my principal. We spoke about how education and Heifer work hand in hand and she approved the 'Read to Feed' program fit with our unit of inquiry 'From Field to Table.' We raised a small amount of donations but a lot of heart! Not only did we learn about how nature provides for us, but also how working together can spark change and provide hope for families in need.”
No sooner had we finished our conversation then the children came back from art. Jessica made a small introduction and asked the kids to share their knowledge and impressions about the charity activity they had done for people in need.
“Our teacher Jessy told us about the people who are very poor,” 6-year-old Anna Urushadze said. “She also told us about Heifer organization, and I think it will be very good if we help them with buying chicks because they lay eggs and eggs have very high nutritional value.”
“We were working in several groups,” 6-year-old Petra Spasojevic added. “My group thinks that it would be better if we buy a sheep, because you may sell meat, milk and cheese.”
“I drew this jacket, which is knitted with the wool,” Elvin Hassanzadeh, a 6-year-old Canadian boy, said as he pointed to the board with a lot of drawings. “I agree with Petra; it is wiser to buy a sheep, because together with food you will have warm clothing as well and will not catch cold.”
“We are planning to do 'Art with a Heart' in May and June with the art teacher,” Jessica revealed. “At the moment we are working on getting a venue to sell the first graders’ art, raising money for Heifer in a silent auction.”
Greatly pleased and surprised with their thorough knowledge and education, I thanked Jessica and her assistant Lena, for the great work they have done. We agreed on collaboration in the future and Heifer Georgia promised to support their school's motto: Promote International Understanding Through Education.