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This semester, Ms Andrea and Mr Will’s Grade 6 English classes at Northbridge International School Cambodia are reading a novel called The Breadwinner. This story is about an 11 year old girl living in Kabul, Afghanistan, during the Taliban era of the 1990s, when extreme restrictions were placed on women, including banning school for all girls.
By Ms Andrea Bernoth, Mr William Lynch and Grade 6 English classes
The first activity of the unit was to research and give presentations on aspects of life in Afghanistan. Students were asked to reflect on what they thought was the most interesting thing they learned, and whether or not they identified any similarities between Afghanistan and Cambodia.
Many students commented on the inequality and the poor treatment of women:
A number of students also recognised commonalities between the Taliban regime and Cambodia’s history with the Khmer Rouge:
Students also compared daily life between the two countries:
During one lesson last week, students brought in scarves or kramas from home, which they wore during class in a style similar to the hijab to develop a sense of empathy for Afghan girls. Some students even kept wearing them after English class as well. Wearing a headscarf in the warm Cambodian climate was a challenge, even more so for Mr Will’s class, where the air conditioning was not working that lesson!
The Breadwinner is also listed as part of the Nord Anglia Global Campus library this year, so when we have finished reading the book, students will have the opportunity to share their ideas and understandings with their peers from across the world.