Muyoka from Sambia with a Osnabrück student
Muyoka from Sambia with a Osnabrück student

Sone, Belkis, Reshma, Alejandra and Muyoka – the names sound foreign – and so they are. These are the names of five young people from terre des hommes projects. For a week, they did the rounds of several schools in the Osnabrück region. They told the Osnabrück pupils what life is like in Laos, Guatemala, India, Bolivia and Zambia – how young people live, what they’re involved in, and what issues are important to them.

Does Africa have twitter?

Some of the pupils asked this in surprise when Muyoka from Zambia visited their classes. Muyoka, who has a profile on facebook, was of course able to answer in the affirmative. But the fact that many children in Laos have to walk six hours or more to get to the nearest school was “way out” in the opinion of many Osnabrück pupils. And they shook their heads in disbelief when they saw the tiny classrooms in the photos which Sone from Laos showed them. The children in Osnabrück were deeply moved by the tale which Reshma from India had to tell: as a five year old, she was forced to weave carpets - and was only allowed to attend school when she reached the age of eleven, following many discussions with her parents. The school, which was in the slum where she lived, was set up by a project partner of terre des hommes. Today, Reshma still lives in a small hut in the slums, and helps other children with their many problems. Reshma still weaves carpets - but not all day every day.

Successful exchange

The five young people from our project countries were inundated with questions from the pupils in Osnabrück – reflecting their deep interest in distant countries. In return, Sone, Muyoka, Alejandra, Reshma and Belkis wanted to know what young people in Germany are doing to protect their environment. The pupils responded by painting their hopes and wishes for a healthy environment on banners which had been brought for the purpose.