A mammoth multicultural undertaking
Whoever thought that the ITER Project was the only mammoth multicultural undertaking in Provence was mistaken. Inter Parents Manosque (IPM), the multicultural parents' association of the International School Manosque, started operating in March 2008 and since then it has accomplished one ambitious goal after another.
Joyce Borgmann, President, Juliet Palmer, Vice-President, and Jo Worth, Secretary, are just three of the dedicated members who put in many hours and great energy to make this association the success it is. As Joyce explains, "We want to help make the school community a place of international culture and exchange. We also want to help people feel at home here."
With these objectives in mind, they have organized many social events for the school community, from Halloween and Christmas parties to a summer fête, potluck picnics, and Burns Night in memory of Scottish poet Robert Burns with poetry recital, Scottish food and dancing. They also organize weekly coffee mornings where parents can get to know each other and provide support to recently-arrived families; guided tours of Manosque and a Welcome Information Package.
Fundraising is a priority too: "Funds raised so far have been spent on supporting educational projects and setting up a dark room for photography," says Joyce. "This year we'll continue to subsidize school trips and exchanges and as a solidarity project, over the next few months we hope to establish a sister-school project in Uganda."
However, their most ambitious fundraising event so far is the day-long Vide Grenier "Car Boot Sale" and Promises Auction due to take place on Monday 13 April in the car park in front of Lycée Les Iscles. There will be an international carnival with national stands and games, and entertainment in the school gym. "Promises," such as cookery courses or a ride in a glider, will be auctioned and sold to the highest bidder. There will also be a "Carnival of Culture" fashion show.
Currently, about half the families with children at the school have become IPM members and the association would like as many others possible to get involved in the way that best suits them. As Joyce points out, "Each parent has something to give. Some people feel they cannot bring anything into the school but they can."
When asked what motivates them to put so much energy into the IPM, Juliet summed it up like this, "It's a feeling of helping to build an international community, not just taking the children to school."
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