Wonderful Things Happen When Kids Connect!
In the age of emails, tweets, and texts it’s nice to receive a “real letter.” Kenya Connect began as a Pen Pal program for teachers and students from schools around the world connecting with the children of Wamunyu. Through our resource materials, teachers can easily begin the Pen Pal program that connects youth globally promoting a culture exchange and understanding, and encouraging peaceful and global citizens. Some teachers/students have also exchanged science experiments, booklets, and artwork. Many teachers tie the Pen Pal letters to components of the common core or their particular curriculum.
How the Pen Pal exchange works:
Our letter exchange is electronic. The letters can be sent as Word docs or handwritten letters that are scanned into PDF files and organized into folders, preferably 4MB or less. These folders can be sent as zip files. Your students’ letters will be printed at our office in Kenya and then distributed to the pen pals.
Although there are no letter deadlines, please take note that schools in Kenya are out on recess during the months of April, August, and November through December. We recommend you do not send letters during these times so that your students are not waiting too long for their responses.
I’m excited. How do I sign up?
Step 1: Contact Kenya Connect
Email Executive Director James Musyoka (email@example.com) with
- Name (teacher or contact person)
- Email address
- Phone number
- School Name & Address
- Grade & the number of participating students
Step 2: Pen Pal Confirmation
You will receive a reply from Kenya Connect. This will provide you with the school name and names of students and ages and other appropriate details. At this point, you can write your first pen pal letters.
Step 3: Write Pen Pal Letters
Please follow these guidelines and ensure that the heading of each letter include the following information:
- “To my friend in Kenya”
- Full name of the student writing the letter
- Name of school
- Grade and gender
Only the first letter of the year needs to be addressed “To my friend in Kenya”; subsequent letters should be addressed to the assigned pen pal.
What Should Your Students Include in the Letters?
Kenyan students are interested in the life of their Pen Pals. Information that often is included in a first letter is: How many are in your family? Do you have a pet? Do you play sports or have a musical interest? What are your favorite books, favorite foods, and favorite hobbies. The students often will draw a picture on their letters or sometimes a photo will be attached. Subsequent letters might reflect on a particular topic— perhaps you are doing a unit on poetry or learning about endangered species. Your students might want to include that topic in the letter. Some Pen Pal exchanges have even included art projects, poetry and short stories.
Step 4: Mailing the Letters
Each individual letter should be scanned electronically. Send completed electronic files or scanned letters of student works to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your school and contact information. Teachers, you are more than welcome to write a letter as well. The teachers in Kenya love to correspond with teachers abroad.
We love seeing your students receiving and reading the letters so send us a picture! You can email it to James@Kenyaconnect.org