National Writing Project

Refugee Trilogy: Inspired by Rick Shaefer and Writing Our Lives with Ubuntu

Date: October 13, 2016

Summary: This episode of NWP Radio highlights a special collaboration between artist Rick Shaefer, the Fairfield University Art Museum, teachers who attended CWP-Fairfield's 2016 Invitational Leadership Institute, and Ubuntu Academy, a young adult literacy lab for immigrant and refugee youth.


Excerpt from Show

Jessica Baldizon, ESL teacher at Ubuntu Academy and Cesar Batalla K-8, on the spirit underpinning Ubuntu Academy:

As Bryan was mentioning, it is built off of the South African philosophy of ubuntu, that is saying that we can be who we are because of who we are together. So I, as an individual, my identity, is immediately tied to our collective identity, and our collective responsibilities to each other.

And that really is the foundation of the curriculum that William and I then put together in Ubuntu. So over those two weeks when they're reading and they're writing and discussing together, it's all coming from that framework, and that understanding that we cannot exist as humans without each other. That despite the language differences that may exist, and despite our differences in homeland or origin, there is still a collective identity with all of us."

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