Resource of the Week - Fundraising and the developing world - After the disaster

How students can help - and learn from - communities abroad

Teachers of seven- to 11-year-olds in England will be familiar with the "Around the World" geography unit, in which students learn about a village in a less economically developed country. The village chosen is often Chembakolli in India, selected as a case study by the UK Department for Education.

Now, a new cross-curricular scheme of work follows the same objectives but is written from first-hand experience of a village in southwest Sri Lanka, called Tittagalla East.

The free teaching resources from charity Senahasa touch on climate, landscape, housing and employment, and all aspects of daily (and school) life. What makes the resources a little different is that they also explore the effects of natural disasters - in particular, tsunamis.

Tittagalla East is a small rural community 16km from Galle, which was badly hit by the 2004 tsunami. Many of the fishermen and their families lost their homes and livelihoods. School buildings were devastated in the disaster.

The resources include numeracy and literacy skills activities, including spreadsheet work, creative writing and poetry, with additional cross-curricular modules on religion, art, music and dance. They are differentiated for three levels of ability, with teacher assessment, a word bank for each section and scope for student self-evaluation at the end of the case study.

PowerPoint presentations contain photographs of the village, videos of the Sri Lankan children taking part in a dance lesson and completed worksheets for teachers to refer to.

The idea for the resources came from a teacher who had taught about Chembakolli for many years but gained first-hand experience of Tittagalla East by fundraising for Senahasa after the tsunami. The material has been relaunched with extra modules after consultation with a retired principal, who now acts as a consultant for schools in South London, England.

The aim is for students to use the free resources while fundraising for a community that they have grown to understand, benefiting children such as those they have encountered in the case study. "It's a perfect opportunity to link our teaching with helping those children who have so much less than we do," one teacher said.

For further information, go to www.senahasa.orgcurriculum-resources or email

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