Learn how the students at Trinity Preparatory School implemented this fundraising project with Friends of Tabelot as a part of their AP French WE service program and how you can organize a similar program at your school.
In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, teachers are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage their students in learning experiences that go beyond the confines of textbooks.
Vanessa Spallone, a French teacher at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, Florida, did just that through a fundraising project with Friends of Tabelot. A non-profit organization based in San Diego, Friends of Tabelot that helps Tuareg artisans in Niger sell their handcrafted silver jewelry in North America. It seeks to break the cycle of poverty and economically empower the Tuareg community, also known as “the blue men of the desert.”
The project was a perfect fit for the AP French WE service program, integrating various components of the exam seamlessly. Students were required to write emails in the target language, engage in interpersonal speaking, and delve into cultural comparisons, making the learning experience comprehensive and authentic.
Cultural Exploration and Engagement
Students began by researching Niger and the Tuareg community, laying the foundation for a deep understanding of the project’s context. Ms. Spallone’s students took the initiative to write a letter to the embassy in Niger, confirming the association’s status as a cooperative. This step demonstrated their commitment to the project’s authenticity and impact.
One of the project’s highlights was a video chat with Mr. Sidi Aboubaka, a local cooperative member who graciously guided the students through a virtual tour of the Tuareg jewelry-making workshop. Witnessing artisans crafting intricate jewelry and seeing their neighborhood provided students with a firsthand connection to the culture they were studying.
Student Ownership and Collaboration
A key lesson Ms. Spallone emphasized was letting the students take ownership of the project. Empowering them to lead the initiative not only sparked their enthusiasm but also garnered support from the school administration. The students orchestrated a presentation to seek approval, exemplifying their leadership and organizational skills.
Promotion was also a crucial aspect of the project’s success. The students solicited the support of the school’s communications team to promote the fundraiser through the school’s social media accounts and received their help in creating a webpage to sell the jewelry online. The clever use of a QR code allowed easy access to purchase the jewelry, while a Venmo account streamlined payments. The involvement of teachers, parents, and the broader school community further amplified the project’s impact.
Global and Local Integration
Following the AP We Service program, the project integrated both international and local components. Students emailed and Zoomed with Stanislas Myszkowski, the founder of Friends of Tabelot (and co-founder of Forum by Prométour), to learn about the organization’s origin and mission. On a local level, the students actively participated in CultureFest, a school event celebrating diverse cultures. Setting up a booth with Tuareg jewelry for sale, complete with modern payment options like QR codes and Venmo, merged tradition with technology.
By bridging cultures, leveraging technology, and empowering students to take charge, this pro project not only prepared students for the AP French exam but also instilled in them a sense of global citizenship and empathy. these AP French students were able to connect with their classroom learning with
Organize a Tabelot Fundraiser at your school!
How to Fundraise with Friends of Tabelot:
- Place an order with the Friends of Tabelot Association. They will send you the jewelry in advance, so there is no need for an initial deposit. 100% of the cost of any jewelry sold goes directly to the Tuareg community.
- Sell the jewelry and get creative! Host a cultural night, set-up a booth at school events or a community fair. Be sure to advertise in advance so there is plenty of buzz around the project and make sure your audience knows why you chose it!
- At the end of your fundraiser, send back the unsold pieces along with your payment for the jewelry sold.
Note: If you would like to raise additional funds for your French club or a school trip, your group can decide how much to sell each piece of jewelry. While 100% of the cost of the jewelry goes back to the Tuaregs, any additional profits from your sales go directly to your program. A win-win!