ISSN 1710-6931 June 12, 2009 Issue 140

Letter Exchange Program Provides An Escape From Poverty

Ntawangwanabose Célestin Buyore (or Célestin for short) is a teacher and a RESPECT International volunteer who comes from the Republic of Rwanda, a place that is likely to conjure up images of a not-too-distant war and a past marred by violence.

Célestin works at Saint Kizito-Kabiria located in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1994, between 800,000 and one million people were killed there and over the course of approximately 100 days, it is estimated that some 500,000 people were tortured and murdered. In Célestin&'s case, he lost most of his family in the conflict.

"All of my relations died in the war," Célestin said. "My mother and brothers were most likely killed in 1996 by the soldiers of the Front Patriotic of Rwanda (FPRInkotanyi) who are leading there now."

Despite his sorrows, Célestin had a passion to teach and to give back to those who were impacted by the violence. "I like teaching and I also feel sympathy for the children who are the innocent victims of what happened in our countries. I wanted to help them," he said.

He is fulfilling that passion as a teacher and a RESPECT volunteer with students actively engaged in the RESPECT letter writing exchange program. This programme has provided a light in the lives of Célestin students whom he said are continuously exposed to dark. Letter Exchange

Brownstones To Red Dirt

The Brownstones to Red Dirt website, produced by Copper Pot Productions, encases the lives of non-refugee students living in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, United States of America, and refugee students living in Freetown, Sierra Leone, aged between 10 and 12 years. The website is a host to videos, pictures and letters written by children of Brooklyn and Sierra Leone to each other through RESPECT International letter exchange programme.

There are number of features of this website, which add significant worth. For example:

  • The website showcases a striking collection of photos with varied but subtle expressions.
  • Brownstones to Red Dirt's video section displays stirring but inspiring videos of children from Freetown and Brooklyn talking about their lives and aspirations.
  • The website also shares the daily chronicle of Brownstone crew during their stay in Sierra Leone in the section named as Salone Diary.
  • The Links section provides links to the history and current situation of the places featured on the website.
  • It also incorporates a mailing list to invite people to be a part of Brownstones to Red Dirt community.



UNV Article Features RESPECT University Coordinator

A recent issue of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) online newsletter featured an interview of Mr. Ashok Pillai, the RESPECT University coordinator. You can read the article at


Programme Aims to Make Adults Functionally Literate

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. This article is the second part of the interview series with her.

Evolution of FAL

The initial Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) programme provided three two-hour classes weekly: English, Entrepreneurship and Literacy. Class sizes ranged from 7 to 17, with a total weekly attendance of about 40. Functionally Literate

RESPECT Collaborates With Afghan Women's Center

RESPECT International is collaborating with the Afghan Women's Educational Center (AWEC) to provide post-secondary education to promising students in Afghanistan.

AWEC is a non-political, non-profit and non-governmental organization established in 1991 by a group of educated Afghan women who rallied together to address the lack of facilities for Afghan refugees in Islamabad Pakistan. Afghan Women's Center

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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