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A global education

Our partnership with United World Schools (UWS) continues to grow and strengthen as the latest group of students return from Cambodia. In July, 21 girls aged 16 and 17 spent three weeks in remote north-eastern region, teaching at village schools for six to seven hours a day with cultural breaks every five days.

These biennial humanitarian service expeditions to Cambodia involve the students planning and creating the lessons they will teach to primary-aged children. They always return having loved the teaching, but also having gained a deep understanding of the culture and history of the country itself.

As Sixth Form student Kate explained, “While we were in the capital, Phnom Penh, we visited Tuol Sleng, one of the main security prisons. In the four years that Pol Pot was in charge, 20,000 men, women and children were imprisoned here and only 12 people are known to have survived. We know that 25% of the Cambodian population died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, that’s up to 2.2 million people and this knowledge, along with my personal experiences will form the basis of my IB extended essay.”

Poppy added, “The Khmer Rouge were in power from 1975 to 1979, and we saw first-hand the effect this period still has on the political, economic and social structure of the country. It helped us understand just how important the work that UWS do is.”

Aside from the historical context, the girls also experienced a real culture shift while staying in remote villages, “The basic living conditions were quite a challenge to start with”, Rachel explained, “But we soon learned to enjoy sleeping in hammocks, having permanently muddy feet and washing in the rivers.” 

This is the third trip Expedition leader and International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator Jon Cooper has led. “As a school, we strongly believe in the educational benefit of this type of expedition” he says. “It relates extremely well to Sixth Form curriculum studies as it provides excellent material for Extended Essays (IB) and Extended Project Qualifications (A Level), with potential subjects being Cambodian history, third-world medicine or international development. It also helps to broaden intellectual horizons and provide our girls with a unique, global experience.” 

The link with UWS began in 2011 when we funded the building of a school in Jong Village, Ratanakiri and pledged to raise enough money each year to support it. To date, over 70 students and 12 members of staff have taught in Cambodia and the next group will visit in July 2019.

This is just one of many international educational opportunities the school offers. In July 2018, a group of students will travel to Nepal to work with world-leading humanitarian and Redmaids’ High Alumna Linda Cruse.

Date Posted: 03 October 2017
Extra-Curricular Senior Sixth Form The World Beyond

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