In November last year I launched a new Global Classroom Project at school and it went national and global on 7 December.
Inspired by this photo that I took of five rhinos drinking in unison at a waterhole in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, in July, I had five small rhino soft toys made out of genuine African fabric (one side shweshwe and the other an African print). Each rhino was given a truly African name (through a competition amongst our students). These rhinos are on their way to classrooms far and wide – one to South African Schools and then into Africa, one to Australia and New Zealand, one to Canada and America, one to America and South America and one to Europe and Asia. Through global connections I have made in the Global Classroom Project and via Twitter, I have sourced schools to send the rhinos to and currently have 35 classes signed up for the project which will run until December this year, or longer. (It is similar to a Flat Stanley project, but this time with Travelling Rhinos).
Each class will host the rhinos for a week or two and in that time the teacher is asked to educate the students about the rhino situation (in the world, but especially SA), they are asked to dispel the myth that rhino horn is medicine and then they are asked to get their children to contribute to a class page in a wiki that I have created (I have put together information they can use and provided websites for more information). They can write letters of appeal/make videos/do art work – anything which gives the children a voice in the fight against rhino poaching. They are then asked to send the rhino on to another class in their country. Of course they must also document the visit with photos and we will track each rhino’s journey on a Google map. The rhinos will travel for the whole year (or more).
The motivation behind my project is to educate and to use the children’s voices to highlight the gravity of the problem to other countries. After all, it is their children and grandchildren etc. that we want to save the rhinos for, and we rely heavily on tourism in South Africa, so I believe we can make a difference in this way.
Ultimately, once we have many classes participating and contributing, I would like to bring the project to the attention of the powers that be in government. I’m not sure how or who yet, but I have time to work that out!
Currently we have three rhinos in classrooms around the world: Siyanda is in Surrey, Canada; Zindzi is in Ballycurrin, Ireland and Lilitha is in Fish Hoek, Cape Town. Makulu is on his way to New York, but he is running very late and we are concerned about his safe arrival and lastly, Lesedi is on her way to Australia and should arrive within the next week.
Take a look at this lovely video put together by Mrs Thiessen from Green Timbers Elementary in Surrey, BC, Canada (Click on the image):
To find out more about this project visit the wiki:
Visit our Facebook page:
Follow us on Twitter: @travellingrhino
This is a cross-post from