The 2018 Global Conference brought together 17 students from four countries to participate alongside more than 400 members of the Teach For All community in Kathmandu, Nepal. Representatives of Teach For All’s Student Leader Advisory Council and Teach For India’s Kids Education Revolution joined local students of Teach For Nepal Fellows for four days of learning from each other, exploring the theme by visiting local communities and considering their own, and forming friendships in which acceptance is the common language.
Here are some of their reflections:
I had no idea what to expect by the topic “Community at the Center.” I hadn’t even an idea what community meant in my context. I still have a lot of questions, but I also have an answer: Don’t try to change the community, but see the beauty in it and build something great out of that! It has always been easier for me to complain about things in my community than to focus on things that go well. I saw the garbage on the ground, the discrimination in the streets, and the kids who think they’ll fail at school. Now, I can’t wait to take a look at the lovely sides of my community. Love: that’s definitely the most important thing I’ve taken home with me.
— Dewina, 18, Hamburg, Germany
I thought it was going to be very difficult for me to talk to all of the students who are from different places because they have studied differently, they have different voices, they have different lifestyles, and they speak differently. But on the first day, I sat with them at dinner and talked to them. I didn’t know them, but I found out that they’re all my friends. All of us have very different ideas, and we just needed a platform to come together and share those ideas with each other. I think if we create these spaces everywhere, then we’ll all learn from each other, and there will be no boundaries, no borders—we all can come together and make this world one nation, one country.
— Supriya, 15, Delhi, India
I believe what I liked the most [about the conference] is that we were trying to make sense of what the community needs. Almost always, the focus in education is on having better infrastructure, but the fact that the conference looked at how to empower communities is very important. You can have the best infrastructure, but if you come home [to your community] and you don’t have an education at home, then it’s of no use.
— Natan, 17, La Paz, Mexico
On the community visit, we visited the home of a staff member of the school whose husband lived far away to support the family and fulfill their dreams. Their concerns, dreams, and struggles touched my heart as they are the same for me and my parents. It made me realise that everyone has challenges but no one stops because of these obstacles. Instead they try each and every day to overcome them. We just need love and grit to overcome our challenges.
— Isha, 16, Delhi, India
I took many things from the conference—compassion, integrity, courage, respect, listening—which are important as I travel through different phases of life. During the conference I met more than 500 people. Some became my sisters (didi), brothers (dai), and friends. I was surprised that people [from around the world] can love each other like family. I realised it is necessary to listen to others’ voices, and respect others’ points of view like my own. The [experience] made me feel that I can inspire others. I can help them when they’re hesitating.
— Sunita, 17, Kathmandu, Nepal