ISSN 1710-6931 January 30, 2009 Issue 138

An Interview with Joan McDonald

Joan MacDonald has been collaborating with RESPECT International, coordinating RESPECT University courses to refugee students in Kampala, Uganda, since March 2007.

As a RESPECT University field coordinator, she communicates with tutors, downloads lesson materials and uploads the finished assignments.

Joan MacDonald and her husband arrived in Uganda in January 2007. He had a contract with the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) to direct their African projects. She had just completed the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language programme from the University of Saskatchewan.

They had a couple of short-term volunteer opportunities since their arrival in Uganda. When the Refugee Law Project (RLP) director, Dr. Chris Dolan, told her about the new programme at RLP, she felt that it would be a good opportunity to gain more experience while at the same time make a positive contribution to her temporary African home. She joined RLP in October 2007.

Joan believes that one has an obligation to make a contribution, however small, to the community in which one lives. She had spent most of her adult life in rural Saskatchewan, where the spirit of volunteerism and community participation is still very strong.

Her greatest sorrow is in seeing that potential wasted through the needless cruelty and destruction of poverty and war. She sees teaching English as a way to provide people with a tool that can be used to improve their lives and the lives of their families. Interview


Photo of participants at Tools for tolerance workshop

Participants at the Tools for tolerance workshop took the time to take a group photo in the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.


Book Drive for Africa touches many lives

Jenkins Macedo's Book Drive for Africa has inspired and touched many individuals.

One such person is Linda St. Germain, a student at Worcester State College, United States, who, upon receiving a student activities notice, decided to involve the student council. She saw it as a symbiotic opportunity for fellow students to benefit from and to also help the less fortunate.

The Book Drive for Africa aims at supplying educational materials, books and used computers to those who need them to give them a chance at a better education.

The project operates on the premise that education can help people help themselves, leading to productivity, which then translates to a violence-free society with peace and prosperity. Book Drive

RESPECT's Founder learns the Tools for Tolerance

Marc Schaeffer, founder and President of RESPECT International, was awarded a grant along with two of his colleagues at Stevenson Britannia Adult Learning Centre to attend a two-day workshop called Tools for Tolerance along with 31 other educators and administrators at the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in Los Angeles, USA.

Exhibitions at the SWC included the Holocaust, evolution of racism in the United States, bullying and researching genealogy. Presenters included one of the Little Rock Nine and a Holocaust survivor.

"The workshop was a life-changing experience — the best workshop I have been to in my life," says Marc.

As in any newsletter or magazine, RESPECT e-zine is committed to striving for interesting articles and announcements concerning refugee issues all around the world.

If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute an article, contact the e-Zine editor, Angela Carter, at

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