Ed. Notes: The following letter serves as an introduction to an innovative teacher who along with her students has embarked on a journey using the KIDS/iEARN Finding Solutions to Hunger, Poverty & Inequality Project. In future issues of this publication, we will follow the class as they learn about the root causes of hunger, poverty & inequality.
A teacher speaks out about our Finding Solutions to Hunger. Poverty & Inequality Alliance (FSHPI)
Dear FSHPI Community,
It's an honor to join the FSHPI community!
On behalf of Taiwan's Wagor International's 12th Grade Literature, Social Studies, and Writing Class -- and Wagor International as a whole -- I wanted to express our gratitude to Larry, Jane, Mary, Maria, KIDS, and iEARN for being our beacon for change. I have never seen my students so alive, engaged, and passionate. They have tossed aside the all-too-familiar teenage ennui and now seem to... lean forward, eyes wider, hands raised, collaborating, researching, and now, seeking solutions after they've absorbed so much in the few short weeks since we first began our unit.
In my literature class and in my partner-teacher Feon Chau's social studies and writing classes, our students have learned about American unfair labor practices and a broken welfare system from Barbara Ehrenreich's exposé Nickel and Dimed, and the documentaries A Place at the Table and Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price.
In social studies, they had previously explored the root causes that belie terrorism. The undaunted activism of Malala Yousafzai was a tipping point: the immense power of one young girl with courage and the will to fight to learn.
To kindle our students' newfound conviction as they studied Malala's indomitable advocacy, we devled into the stories of the nine other amazing girls featured in the documentary Girl Rising.
I'm not sure I have the words to express how exciting it has been as a teacher to watch the evolution in our students, to see them become restless for change as they learned how girls their age have navigated the almost insurmountable adversity of child slavery, arranged marriages, and even child trafficking -- all to fight for their right to an education.
In closing, I would like to quote from the Girl Rising trailer, which has become something of an anthem for us as we work on our Root Causes and Proposed Solution research videos that we will share with the school and greater Taichung community at the Hunger Banquet that caps our unit at the end of April:
"I will read, I will study, I will learn. If you try to stop me, I will just try harder. If you stop me, there will be other girls who rise up and take my place. I am change. I am my own master now. I feel as though I have power. Now there is nothing to stop me. I feel I can do anything."
My students are beginning to understand that apathy is no longer an option. That the time is now. That empathy is key and understanding the centuries-old paths that led us here is essential.
It is an honor to join this community, to be 23 more hands carrying this global torch.
We are excited to be introducing ourselves individually in the coming days, to learn about you from your posts, and to interact with our new partners in change.
Thank you --
(on behalf of Feon Chau, Sandy Wu, Florence Tsao, Kris Chung, Vic Chen)