Schoolmates is a project conceived and implemented in 2002 by Teens for Unity, a branch of the Focolare Movement, in collaboration with Action for a United World and New Humanity, which involved hundreds of schools over the past ten year period.
Its objective is to allow boys and girls of various countries to get in touch and to know each other, as the name suggests, from one part of the world to the other . The one who participates in it contributes afterwards, through various activities, to increase a solidarity fund which allows to distribute various scholarships every year. In the last 12 months 376 scholarships were given out in 25 nations.
The revamp of the website www.school-mates.org aims at improving communication, participation and interaction among classes and groups which adhere to the three phases of the project.
One begins by committing himself or herself to live the “Golden Rule” which invites to “ do to others what we would like them to do to us”, a rule which is present in the sacred books of many religions.
The second phase allows students to get to know each other by connecting classes and groups of boys and girls of different countries through the website. The project wants to offer a possibility of knowing other cultures creating a dialogue in which the differences may be source of enrichment for one another. In this phase we find one of the novelties of the website: the possibility of managing their own space in the website, for those who will have completed all the three phases of the project. In it boys and girls will be able to introduce their classes or groups, making their own country known to others historically, geographically, culturally and sharing their experiences and witness of their commitment in living the Golden rule. If the class or the group wants to get into contact with other classes or groups, that will be made possible through a reserved area.
The third phase is characterised by sharing: in fact the classes and groups which adhere to the project commit themselves to contribute to the solidarity fund in order to support, every year, some micro projects of solidarity. The objective is to allow boys and girls to be able to go to school and to complete secondary school or professional formation, by giving them scholarships.
Among the novelties of the new website there is also a section dedicated to teachers, educators and tutors, in order to allow them to share materials and pedagogical experiences made in various Countries and schools of different order and grade.