An unusual class in Poznań – It’s better to talk than ‘teach’

19 December 2015
Current events

There were no interruptions. No one was bored. There was no time. “Imagine a big housing estate in Poznań, the whole population of Zakopane, or a few dozen trains filled with people. 30,000 – that’s how many homeless people there are in Poland.” This is how teacher Tomasz Sadowski demonstrated what it was all about. And it was all about understanding, feeling, and wanting to do something about excluded populations. Even by teenagers. The Kulczyk Foundation’s The Domino Effect Global Education program provides such an opportunity. A recording of the class will soon be available for all teachers in Poland.

Tomasz Sadowski, a history teacher and expert on the Domino Effect Global Education program, conducted his class at the School Complex with Integration and Special Departments No. 2 in Poznań. It was attended by students of various ages from different grades. “We used the plan ‘Human being in a difficult situation – about the need to help’, which is a part of the Domino Effect Global Education package. In Chudobczyce, Kulczyk Foundation-supported ‘Barka’ Foundation runs a community for people who want to stop being homeless and deal with their exclusion,” explains Tomasz Sadowski.

One of the tasks was really surprising. It was supposed to evoke strong emotions and stimulate discussion and action. Mr. Tomasz showed the kids… a suitcase. It turned out to contain things like a scout’s handbook, long underwear, a towel, and PLN 100. “They were supposed to think about what they would need to survive three months ‘on the street.’ We are in a group, have PLN 100 each, and some skills and ideas, and must survive in a run-down house,” Mr. Tomasz explains the idea.

So how did they do? One group of mostly girls decided to take advantage of all their talents, e.g. sing in the streets or do people’s hair. They agreed that they would use the collected money to buy food for all of them and then invest in something – sow some seeds, buy animals! The group dominated by boys prepared a business plan with a precise destination for the collected money. They wanted to buy a hen and a rooster! They declared that they would divide the household chores between themselves appropriately. “Knowledge quickly provoked a valuable discussion, which, with the support of the original assignments, quickly turned into the planning of specific activities. Our foundation is always trying to create a domino effect. And there it was, right before our very eyes!” said Dominika Kulczyk, the President of Kulczyk Foundation, who attended the class and then had a long conversation with the students about helping. “But anyone thinking that the final piece of domino was pushed over when the class was over would be in for a surprise. There were more! After the class, a group of delightful girls asked me if Kulczyk Foundation needed any volunteers because they wanted to act. If they asked me about it just like that, one thing is certain – many non-governmental organizations can count on such tremendous young people!” she exclaimed.

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