A Book Drive + Friendship Around the Globe (Granby, Connecticut & Makuleke Village, South Africa)

Earlier this year, students from Granby Memorial Middle School in Granby, Connecticut partcipated in a book drive faciitated by Sharing to Learn partner organization USACF (http://thechildrensfellowship.org/).  The books that the Granby students collected, were part of a large shipment of thousands of books.  When they arrived to the village, STL worked with two local primary schools to set up libraries with the donated books.  Later, we connected the students of Granby to some of the students in the village, allowing the children the opportunity to connect with one another, learn about each other’s culture and customs, sharing the basic thread of life.


Children at Makuleke Primary School receive books collected by children in Granby.  STL librarians distributed the books to local primary schools in the village, which allowed us to set up 2 new village libraries!

percy + mawisa G

Makuleke Village High School students, Mawisa and Percy use an iPhone to Skype with Granby Memorial Middle School students in Connecticut.  They participated in a Q & A, sharing their culture with their new friends.


Children at Granby, happy to connect with new friends across the world in Makuleke village!


Children at Granby Memorial Middle School Skype with Mawisa and Percy!


Skyping Live From Makuleke Village!

Sharing to Learn has been so fortunate to have lovely Amanda – a graduate of University of San Diego – intern for STL in Makuleke Village!  One of the tasks that she worked on was providing internet training for teachers at one of the village’s local primary schools.  We love this photo; Amanda and teachers giggling with delight as they tested Skype out for the first time ever!  Skype is an invaluable tool for STL as it allows us to connect classrooms across the globe with the remote, rural village in South Africa.


Cultural Immersion: Connecticut Magnet School Partners with Makuleke Community

Sabin, principal of Global Experience Magnet School (GEMS)  in Bloomfield, Connecticut, greets children at the Makahlule Village Primary School, South Africa.  GEMS is partnering with Sharing to Learn to create a model global education program, rooted in cultural immersion and service-based learning.  This spring, a group of students and teachers from GEMS will be returning to the Makuleke & Makahlule villages to extend our programs.

StoryBook Adventure – Connecting Children from Portugal and South Africa Through Global Literacy

7th grade students at the Carlucci American International School of Lisbon meet their new friend in Makahlule Village, South Africa.

Sharing to Learn coordinated the global literacy project, StoryBook Adventure, pairing 5th grade students in Makahlule with 7th grade students in Lisbon.  We collected photos and gathered information on children in the village and then sent that over to Lisbon, where the children were learning how to write fiction.  The 7th graders in Portugal used the information sheets and photographs of their new friends in South Africa for the protagonists in the stories they were crafting.

STL Cultural Immersion Trips

University of San Diego, California; Global Experience Magnet School, Connecticut & Makuleke Village

Sharing to Learn has created a model cultural immersion program.  We provide partnering schools the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the Makuleke culture and through this immersion, discover ways that lives can be transformed through service projects.  This summer we had the pleasure of hosting students and teachers from University of San Diego (USD, California) and Global Experience Magnet School (GEMS, Connecticut).  Both the university students and the high school students had the unique opportunity of traveling to Makuleke and collaborating with students, teachers and village leaders on transformational education and development projects.  The real-world connections we’ve made between students around the world have been powerful and mutually beneficial.

Nadalie, a student at USD, reads to children at the Makuleke Library

The relationships that I made during my short time in Makuleke are something I will never forget, most of which have truly changed the way I have come to think about my life.” – Jen, USD student

Professor Williams giving a lecture on Comparative Politics (US Civil Rights/Apartheid) to village community members 

Sharing to Learn has created a sustainable and effective method of cultural exchange where individuals from across the globe can feel connected with each other.”

- Dr. Williams, professor, University of San Diego

USD students and the Makuleke Equalizer group formed a deep, lasting friendship

To read more about The USD experience in Makuleke village, click the below link:


Sabin Loveland, principal of GLobal Experience Magnet School (GEMS) of Connecticut, greets children at the Makahlule Primary School

Cat, a student at GEMS in Connecticut, works on an art project with Nesta, of Makuleke Village

“I feel so very excited to be Cat’s friend because she is a kind and lovable girl and the best thing I love about her is that she has goals in life.  I’m so excited that she loved Makuleke.  We learned from each other and played games together.” – Nesta

New Toys, New Books, New Friends: Bringing together children from Long Island, NY & Makuleke Village, SA

A Kindergarten student at Sousa Elementary School, in Long Island, New York, cradles a doll from Makuleke Village, made out of recycled bags.  In January, children at Sousa learned about life and culture in the village through the toys that the children in the community make and use.  The children at Sousa also learned about Sharing to Learn’s library building initiatives for the impoverished community and wanted to share their favorite class books with children in the village.  We brought their favorite picture book selects, as well as their class-made books introducing themselves to their new friends, our little community library in March.

New Books at the Makuleke Library, thanks to Kindergarten friends at Sousa Elementary School (Long, Island, New York)

Beverly Hills Read-a-thon benefitting Sharing to Learn, Beverly Vista Elementary School


We are so proud of Beverly Vista School and their efforts to raise money for Sharing to Learn’s libraries in South Africa, by holding a Read-a-Thon at their school last month.  Children in grades Pre-K thru Grade 5 participated by reading to one another during the school day.  They raised over $1,500 during their event, which will not only help us fund our village libraries for two months, but also sponsor a child in STL’s Mentor Program to receive a nutritional food supplement for twelve months.  We are so very proud of this school’s efforts to help support our work and vision for all children to have equal access to quality education.

A Reflection on the Read-a-Thon by Grade 5 Student Sarah:


Recently, my teacher Mr. Milliken informed our class that we would be participating in the “Sharing to Learn” program by reading to the Beverly Vista preschoolers.  Upon hearing this, many of my classmates let out and excited “YES!”  Last year in fourth grade we did the same every week, so many students had some experience with the already.  When it was time we walked downstairs to the preschool and the class was split up to go into the three different classrooms.  When we entered, fond memories of being that age filled my head and I’m sure some of my classmates head too.  My friend Emily and I were standing next to each other and became partners.  A preschool teacher brought up over to an area where two little cuties were sitting ready for us to read to them.  Before we started, the teacher brought us a couple of pictures books to read to them.  We introduced ourselves, asked the two their names, and I started reading “Rollie Pollie Ollie.”  Soon after, it was Emily’s turn and she began to read.  To ensure that the two preschoolers were following along we kept asking them questions such as “Where do you think Spot is now?” and “Rollie Pollie Ollies favorite color is purple. Is that your favorite color too?”  Soon, I became melancholy because it was time for us fifth graders to leave.  I really enjoyed this Sharing to Learn experience and hope we and do it again.

Beverly Hills goes to Makuleke Village!

We have recently had the pleasure of connecting the students of Mr. Weiss & Ms. Cryer’s Grade 5 classes of Beverly Vista Elementary School, in Beverly Hills, California, with the children of Makuleke Village.  In February, the students in California learned about the life and culture of children in Makuleke Village.  They also learned of the little community library that Sharing to Learn founded in 2009, and they wanted to contribute to the book collection.  Both classes decided to create their own ‘All About Me’ big books, sharing their own cultures with the children in the village, as well as class-made books on Cities Around The World.  We had the honor of presenting these books to the Makuleke Library earlier this month.  The children of Makuleke were so happy to meet new friends, to learn about life in California, and to once again be connected to children around the globe.

Makuleke Community Library, April, 2012

Homemade Ball Inspiration: Wilton, Connecticut to Makuleke Village

Last month, we visited Millor Driscoll Elementary School in Wilton, Connecticut, connecting Mr. B’s 2nd Grade class with the Makuleke Community of South Africa.  The children learned about life in the rural village and they connected with new friends through the games and toys which the village children make.  Homemade soccer balls, made of recycled plastic bags (most typically bread bags) are one of the most common toys made in the village, and the children in Wilton loved seeing how creative and innovative the children in Makuleke are.  They kicked around the bread bag ball, which has traveled the globe from school to school, and some children made their own ball out of recycled paper, based on the inspiration of the bread bag ball.  Christian & Abigail made a ball out of paper and sent it to the village to share with new friends.  See the beautiful exchange below!

The Bread Bag Ball Inspires Creativity & Play: Makuleke Village to Wilton, Connecticut

Toys inspire play and friendship around the globe!  Christian & Abigail, 2nd Graders at Millor Driscoll Elementary School in Wilton, Connecticut, hold up the bread bag ball from Makuleke Village, which inspired their own handmade paper ball.  Next week their ball will find its way to Makuleke Village, and is bound to inspire others.  We are so proud of children and their natural ability to come together through play, regardless of culture, geography or class.