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RESPECT's Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Global Letter Exchange

How do I sign my students up for the Global Letter Exchange?

Complete our online form. There are separate forms for refugee and non-refugee schools.

Your information will be emailed to us and a copy will be sent to your contact(s) at the email address(es) you entered for them on the form.

Once we receive the first set of letters from your school, we will pair you with a non-refugee school. Your package of letters will be forwarded to your partner school.

The students at your partner school will write letters in response to the letters they receive from your students. Their letters will be sent directly to you.

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How much does it cost to participate in the Global Letter Exchange?

There is no cost to participate in the Global Letter Exchange. However, you will likely have to pay the cost of postage for the first package, at a minimum. We strongly encourage your partner school to include international reply coupons (IRCs) with their reply package. However, we cannot guarantee this will be the case.

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How does RESPECT choose which schools, refugee or non-refugee, will participate in the Global Letter Exchange?

All schools that make a serious commitment to the Global Letter Exchange are able to participate.

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What am I responsible for when I sign up my students to participate in the Global Letter Exchange?

You are responsible for collecting letters from and distributing the replies to your students. Send the first package of letters to:

Send subsequent packages directly to your partner school.

You will likely have to pay the cost of postage for the first package, at a minimum. We strongly encourage your partner school to include international reply coupons (IRCs) with their reply package. However, we cannot guarantee this will be the case.

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My students have only recently begun learning English; their primary language is French. Can they still participate in the Global Letter Exchange?

Yes they can. We have French speaking students at both refugee and non-refugee schools. Our usual process is slightly modified for French speaking students.

Our Global Letter Exchange French Coordinator Sandrine Cortet begins the process by pairing schools with each other since refugee letters in French are not normally available. She introduces the refugee and non-refugee teachers by email so they can figure out how the program will work and what they can both expect.

At this point, the non-refugee students send their letters along with international reply coupons (IRCs) and the refugee students reply to this first set of letters. As of 15 October 2009, IRCs can be purchased in Canada for $3.50 CAD, in the USA for $2.10 USD and in France for €1.30 EUR. (International Reply Coupons are not available to Taiwan.)

Please contact Sandrine at sandrine@respectrefugees.org for more information.

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My students' native language is neither English nor French. Can we still participate in the Global Letter Exchange program?

Yes. We have volunteers coordinating our Global Letter Exchange program in several langauages. Camelia Cosma is working eith schools in Spain.

She puts a refugee and non-refugee teacher in contact with each other, and they decide which language is best for their students to use.

Complete our online registration for and explain your situation in the Questions, Requests, Comments, or Suggestions section.

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We are starting a new school year. How do I get pen pals for my new students?

Let us know by sending an email to respect@respectrefugees.org. Or you can complete a new registration form. There are separate forms for refugee and non-refugee schools.

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I'm a student in Ghana. My school sent letters to RESPECT two months ago. Why don't we have pen pals yet?

The postal systems in countries where refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) reside can be unreliable. Because of this, letters can take up to four months to be delivered.

Please have your Global Letter Exchange coordinator contact Marc Schaeffer at respect@respectrefugees.org so we can try to track the progress of your letters.

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I'm a refugee student. Will my pen pal help me pay my school fees?

No. The purpose of the Global Letter Exchange is to provide cultural and educational experiences for refugee and non-refugee students, not provide financial support.

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