YPI Scotland

Stewart Clelland had signed up to do our Global Learning Partnerships (GLP) programme in 2020. Three years later, he had the opportunity to join 19 fellow global educators on the placement to Uganda and Rwanda.

In the vibrant classrooms of East Africa, where dreams take shape against all odds, the aspirations of young hearts know no bounds. Children dream of becoming accountants, lawyers, nurses, engineers, teachers, and doctors. They dream of a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. But not all children have the same opportunities. Some children are born into poverty, others are girls, and still others live in rural areas with class sizes of over two hundred pupils. What type of teacher can stand before a class of two hundred daily? With children leaving for the day as they came—on empty stomachs? During the summer of 2023, I had the privilege to work with those in such a context. And amidst a landscape besieged by adversities that claw at the very essence of life itself, I saw miracles happen every day.

What follows is a personal account of my journey to Uganda and Rwanda with Global Learning Partnerships (GLP). Endorsed by Education Scotland, GLP is an intense and immersive professional learning development opportunity focused on facilitating innovative teaching methods in promoting global and sustainable education. I was able to participate in this opportunity thanks to a generous donation by UHI’s Student Development Fund.

I am fascinated by how our cultures and religions influence our relationship with the natural world. Education is key to fostering more sustainable relationships between people and the planet. Some cultures deeply revere nature, while others see it as something to be exploited.

Our identities play a role in how we interact with the environment. Education can help people to appreciate the diversity of cultures and religions and to see how these differences can be a source of strength and resilience. This is something I explore in my own classroom, and will continue to do so with renewed insight.

Read more of Stewart’s incredible reflections on the UHI website.