The Friendship Exchange is a penpal program that partners Gambian students with counterparts in the United States. Our first participants were Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Seattle, Washington, and Dankunku Primary School in The Gambia. Twenty-one students exchanged drawings and letters.
More schools have since signed on, and some 200 letters have been exchanged. One teacher tells us:
My students absolutely loved receiving letters from their penpals in Gambia! It was a great way to expose them to a new culture, create dialogue about ways we can make a difference in the world, and allow them to see that despite some differences based on culture and distance, kids are kids everywhere you go.
Pictures from Gambian students of their compounds in The Gambia:
The following U.S. schools have participated:
- Neely-O’Brien Elementary School in Burien, WA
- North Creek Day School in Bothell, WA
- Stevenson Elementary in Bellevue, WA
- University of Washington Chemistry Department
- La Pietra Girls School in Honolulu, HI
- Greenwood Elementary School in Seattle, WA
- Eckstein Middle School in Seattle, WA
- Lake Forest Park Montessori in Seattle, WA
- Syre Elementary School in Shoreline, WA
- Many of these schools have also collected and donated books for GambiaHELP’s Book Project.
We are currently expanding this program; If you know of a class that might be interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.