How to bring two different worlds together? And how do you make sure that this other world doesn’t remain a distant sight? Well, by putting these two worlds in contact with each other and letting them communicate from person to person. This is the objective of the twinning project: to have schools from “here” (Belgium) and schools from “there” (Benin) work together. The extent and depth of this cooperation depends on the schools themselves.
Dirk Letens, principal of the Sint-Pietersschool in Mechelen, was the first to think of a twinning between his school and an elementary school in Benin, West Africa. Thanks to the support of the Hubi&Vinciane Foundation, a good agreement was quickly found. The Sint-Pietersschool mainly wanted to work on healthy food and vegetable cultivation. The staff of our Foundation went to look for a school in Benin that works intensively on this subject. And after some research, the Bonsi school in N’Dali came out on top. The director, Marius, was immediately very enthusiastic.
A first meeting of the two directors followed fairly quickly, in September 2021, via What’s app. They developed a cooperation plan and submitted their project to Scholenbanden. Grants from Scholenbanden are of course welcome to realize their many projects.
Homemade cards and small gifts went from Mechelen to Benin and back again. This was possible because people from the Hubi&Vinciane Foundation regularly went to Benin and were happy to act as letter carriers for the schools. The Sint-Pietersschool also sent materials to work in the garden and seeds of various plants. Photos and videos were also recorded and exchanged. The pupils of the Sint-Pietersschool presented themselves in French to their Beninese classmates in entertaining short films. The Beninese students also made beautiful short films which were then passed on to the Sint-Pietersschool via the Hubi&Vinciane foundation.
The highlight of this first year of cooperation was undoubtedly the visit of Dirk Letens and two teachers, Annelies Vander Aa and Liesbeth Van Looken, to the Bonsi school at the end of May. Marius, the director on site, did not expect it to happen so quickly. It was a special and exciting experience for everyone. In the film below, the principals and teachers share their first impressions.
Both schools are committed to working together for a long time. The exchange is just beginning. Many agreements have been made. And in the next step, in 2022-2023, the principal and colleagues of the Bonsi school will visit their colleagues in Mechelen. To be continued.
Primary, secondary or higher education institutions that wish to twin with a school in Benin or that are interested in other projects of our Foundation can always contact our Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.