It all started with a suitcase of picture books.
In the summer of 2010, Dr. Wannie Wang’s Intro to Education class sent a suitcase full of children’s books overseas to Xiaolin Elementary School, located in rural mountains in Taiwan. The class heard that a year had passed since Typhon Morakot destroyed the school and its small village, and the children still were struggling. The deadliest tropical storm to impact Taiwan in recorded history wiped out their homes and took the lives of many of their families and friends, including the school’s English teacher. The class decided, with the storybooks and some technology, that we would teach the children English.
Among the total of 78 children, 32 at Xiaoling Elementary School survived the typhoon and participated in the weekly Skype lessons. That July, four students representing the class arrived in Xiaolin, and designed a summer camp for the children. This experience was, in the students’ own words, life changing. We were featured in the news, on TV, and were invited to present at international conferences. But there was yet a name for the Skype lessons and the camp, the children and their student teachers simply called it, “the Project.”