The School-2-School program combines virtual cultural exchange, community-based fundraising, and direct volunteering to advance goals related to improving education and building mutual understanding at the grassroots level in the United States as well as in the Muslim World. Students in partner schools in the US, Bangladesh, and Indonesia learn about each other's culture and history and become unofficial ambassadors of their communities through virtual exchange, overcoming stereotypes.
Young people in the US and throughout the Muslim World grow up believing harmful stereotypes about "the other." Their stereotypes are born of ignorance and a lack of exposure, not maliciousness. More programs that bring young people together and that challenge these stereotypes are necessary. Through virtual exchanges, infrastructure investments, and volunteerism, S2S has benefited thousands of students over the last eight years in the US, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Jordan, and elsewhere.
Each S2S partnership includes the following components: 1) Through a semester long virtual exchange students learn about each other and their partner school's country. 2) American schools raise funds to purchase educational supplies for their partner schools, from books to computers and lab equipment. 3) An unofficial ambassador from the American school volunteers at their partner school over the summer. 4) That unofficial ambassador gives presentations in his or her community upon returning.
S2S introduces students in the U.S. and the Muslim World to each other's cultures, providing a chance for dialogue and exchange. At the same time, the program provides vital support to schools in developing nations that helps them to fulfill their mission of providing a quality education. These two components improve students' educational opportunities and expand their horizons. This program decreases the likelihood of young people growing up with intolerant opinions about "the other."