Astrid Patrigeon | GLP Rwanda

Astrid Patrigeon, an Additional Support Needs (ASN) teacher in Aberdeen, originally took part in Global Learning Partnerships in 2016 and returned as a Team Lead in 2018. Both trips took her to communities in Rwanda.

Astrid is using her first-hand experiences to inspire her pupils to better understand the world outside of their classroom and local community through a number of projects relating directly to Rwanda and supplementing those with units looking at other countries and cultures in Africa.

“When harnessing the principles of Learning for Sustainability it is important to have a common thread that excites and inspires children and young people. My first-hand experience of two summers spent immersing myself in Rwandan communities and their education system has allowed me to ignite that interest within my pupils and open their eyes to the world.”

As part of Learning for Sustainability and linking with the Sustainable Development Goals and Zero Waste project, Astrid’s class are:

  • Making plastic footballs
  • Upcycling projects to sell at a later date for school funds
  • Making bunting saying ‘Welcome to ASN 4’ with scraps of Rwandan materials
  • Speaking at Assembly about writing letters to Rwandan pupils and finding more about them

Her next steps will be:

  • An enterprising activity to raise money for microfinance focusing on the impact this money would have
  • On a personal level, make more links with the community and supporting local projects and buying locally

Astrid’s other observations from her Global Learning Partnership journey:

“Going to Rwanda in 2016 changed me a lot and I was returning in 2018 with a different outlook. Supporting teams to have their experience and knowing when to step back to let them take a lead was really important. We all take something different from the experience and adapt it to our own context – whether that be in the classroom or in our personal lives.”

“One of the biggest culture shocks was the generosity of the Rwandans when they had very little by British standards. On one occasion I asked a man where I could buy avocado on non-market day. He told me he had two so would happily share one. I saw this behaviour numerous times and was very humbled.”

“This experience will be a fantastic challenge. You will give your time and some of your knowledge but you will gain so much more on different levels. It will have a long-lasting impact on you and your school.”