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Seize your chance to change their lives

The end of exams will bring opportunities for fundraising. Harvey McGavin reports on how the TES website can help children find out more about war-torn Afghanistan

half-term means we have reached the halfway mark in the Children Helping Children campaign. Thousands of young lives and hundreds of schools have already been changed for the better thanks to the pound;80,000 you have raised so far.

With tests and exams out of the way, there will be plenty of opportunities to add to the appeal coffers at sports days and summer fairs. There will also be more opportunities to get a vital educational message across in the classroom.

More than 3,000 miles and a world of difference separate British and Afghan children. The scale of the rebuilding task that faces this ravaged nation is difficult to appreciate. But there are ways to help children understand better what life is like in a country where war, drought and famine are a part of daily life. On The TES website, we have a package that combines comprehensive resources for schools with inspirational fundraising ideas. Together they can turn some of the ideas behind citizenship - helping others and realising one's place in the world - into reality.

At the appeal home page you can access an extensive library of ready-to-use teaching materials. Compiled by UNICEF's education experts, these resources are designed for primary and secondary groups.

Begin by clicking on the Teaching Resources link from the main menu. A good way of introducing the subject is to use the 'Schools in Afghanistan" series. These vivid depictions of everyday life in Afghan schools show how different their life is from our own. This section also features UNICEF's "school in a box": a practical way of establishing a place of learning wherever one is needed.

In the primary and secondary activities sections, you will find lesson plans for both age groups. You might have lessons about refugees (the materials explain everything from "what is a refugee?" to life in a camp) or look at Deborah Ellis's moving short stories The Secret Kite, Selling Naseer and Dateline Nowhere.

You can download and print out images from the site. There also will be more images in the paper next week in a two-page photo spread.

Elsewhere you can learn about everything from landmines - the curse of Afghanistan's countryside - to the popular Asian cartoon character Meena. And you can bring some Afghan culture into your school by having a go at traditional pastimes such as the pebble game and kabbadi (under "primary activities") or look under "food for thought" in the fundraising ideas for tasty Afghan recipes.

You can also take inspiration from Ted Wragg, Exeter University's forthright professor of education, well-known to TES readers. He is rarely lost for words but when he set eyes upon the Big Picture of children in Afghanistan published in Friday magazine last November, he admits it "chewed me to pieces and made me determined to do something about it".

His campaign tips will help you engage your pupils with the appeal. He advises on how to brainstorm and gives ideas for assemblies and circle time. A sense of being global citizens is just one of the things your pupils - as well as their peers in Afghanistan - stand to gain. As Ted says: "Taking part in this campaign is something that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

Teacher, 19

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