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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 05:53 GMT
Africa school swap
Ibrahim and  Kyle at the Milton Margai School
Ibrahim and Kyle have been pen friends for three years

Fifteen year old Kyle Jones from Kent, has been writing to his pen-pal Ibrahim Conteh for the past three years.

The two lads have met before - and hit it off immediately. Now, Kyle and a group of school friends are travelling to Sierra Leone to visit Ibrahim's school.

What makes the trip so unusual is that Kyle, Ibrahim and all the other teenagers involved are visually impaired.

In a series of three special films, Breakfast's Graham Satchell travelled with the children from the Dorton House School for the Blind.

They have signed up for the BBC's twinning initiative, World Class, which brings together schools from across the world. And they've been paired with the Milton Margai School for the blind in Sierra Leone.

  • Graham Satchell's final report looked at differing attitudes towards disability - and we talked live in the studio to Kyle and his headmistress.

  • Read the boys' accounts of the trip in their own word

  • Find out about the BBC's World Class project and how to get involved by twinning with one abroad, by following the link below


  • Monday 27 February: Friends reunited

    The excited Milton Margai pupils wait to greet their pen-pals
    The excited Milton Margai pupils wait to greet their pen-pals

    Kyle met Ibrahim his pen pal last year after writing in Braille to each other for three years.

    They were inseparable, sharing personal stories and love of music and technology. Kyle is taking a tape out to Ibrahim and we see them together as they are reunited.

    Nick will meet his new pen pal for the first time. Despite having a stammer, he's witty and sharp and is looking forward to meeting the girls!

    Leighanne is the quietest of the group, but benefits from the tactile, open nature of the African children.


  • Tuesday 28 February: Education

    Making a tactile map for the blind children
    Making a tactile map for the blind children

    Today we follow the British art teacher as he takes the African children for their first ever art class.

    He erects a tactile map of the UK, the first thing ever to hang on the school walls. Art in the UK is paramount to the teaching of visually impaired children, as it develops their tactile, creative and motor skills.

    Some of the African children were blinded by the rebels during the civil war and we hear their stories. Esther's father was killed in the civil war - something she tells Kyle she can forgive, but never forget.


  • Wednesday 1 March: Disability: Challenging misconceptions

    Breakfast in Sierra Leone
    Blind children in Sierra Leone learn to use the hoople cane

    Blind children suffer discrimination in Sierra Leone and their British friends want to help them challenge this and push for improved disability rights.

    Peter Penfold is championing this cause and helping to see through a new disability law. We meet the Government ministers responsible for it.

  • We talked live to Kyle and to the head teacher of Dorton House, Jude Thompson, to find out what are the lasting impressions they'll take with them.


  • To find out more about schools twinning, go to the BBC's World Class website.

    Dorton House School is run by the Royal London Society for the Blind, which is a regsitered charity.

  • BBC Breakfast

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    SEE ALSO:
    School swap: Kyle's blog
    27 Feb 06 |  Breakfast
    Ibrahim's blog: Reunited with Kyle
    28 Feb 06 |  Breakfast


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