May 22, 2015
Schools4Schools- Strengthening relationships across Europe

Schools4Schools 5In Belgium, many schools now have multi-cultural weeks whereby children are encouraged to learn about the culture of another country and imagine what life is like there.

One such school is Vrije Basisschool Velle located in Temse, Belgium.  Vrije Bassisschool Velle school reached out to Monsanto in Antwerp, which helped put them in touch with a school near a Monsanto seed processing plant in Sinesti, Romania. Our local team in Romania has a long standing relationship with the school in Sinesti–located in the county of Ialomița–as part of our ongoing community work in that region.

As the two schools got to know each other, Vrije Bassisschool Velle school realised that the relationship could be much more than just a week long project, and the School4School project was born.

Identifying a way they could help their new sister school, Vrije Bassisschool Velle school organised a toy sale in their local community to buy a much needed printer, classroom equipment, and gardening tools for the Sinesti school. Monsanto was asked to help, and we were more than happy to pitch in and act as a motivator to increase the amount raised, as well as make a contribution of our own. On the 21st May, Bob Reiter, Monsanto’s Global Supply Chain lead, officially celebrated the project and contribution with the Sinesti school in Romania.

Strengthening the bonds even further, Vrije Bassisschool Velle school organised a “Romanian Week” for students to learn more about Romanian history, culture, language and cuisine  (some eyebrows were raised at Tochitura but tummies rumbled at the thought of eating Cozonac), with the week culminating in the whole school “Romanian” show.

The project continues with ongoing cross cultural learning about another’s culture–from the performance of a Dracula play and local dances to the sending of traditional clothing and handicrafts to Skyping with each others’ classes.

This ongoing learning has led the students to have a greater respect and understanding of both their own culture and heritage, as well as that of their European neighbours.

Congratulations to both schools! We look forward to hearing more about this wonderful partnership.

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