Learn About With Grandma

Valerie Wood-Gaiger MBE

This is Valerie Wood-Gaiger MBE - the lady who started LEARN WITH GRANDMA – she is making 80, has 3 grown-up children; 7 grandchildren & 5 Great grandchildren. Her little dog is called Lily!  She USES the Internet!

She was very ill in 2013. During the 5 months she spent recovering she had time to think of what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She was then 72 and could have retired but she had an idea! That the internet could become a bridge to reunite the generations!

Throughout the world most elders do not use modern technology - most young people do! Why not ask the young to teach their elders? Why not ask the elders to teach the young?

Valerie decided to float her ideas on Facebook - a free way to spread a message! In just over 2 years LEARN WITH GRANDMA has developed into an International network with 36 groups. 16 in Africa – including of course Learn with Grandma Nigeria                               https://www.facebook.com/groups/309610442568296/?fref=ts

What does Inter-Generational Learning mean?

It’s very simple - sharing skills and knowledge across the generations. We always learnt from our elders. Psalm 78 in the Bible – Tells us to TEACH! Teach as our fathers taught us. That was written by Asaph in King David’s Court about 1050 BC – about 3 thousand years ago!!

We can no longer learn as our parents and grandparents learnt. They grew up before the internet was invented.

Sir Tim Berners-Lea invented the world wide web 25 years ago. https://home.cern/topics/birth-web  He gave his invention to the World – what a wonderful present! I wonder if even he realised that his invention would change our lives so dramatically – so quickly! 

His wonderful invention has brought us great benefits but it has also caused a new age gap - Throughout the world most elders do not use the information & commutation technology - most young people do. ICT has divided the generations - it can be the bridge to reunite them!

We can learn HOW to do almost everything from the internet.

We can get the recipe from the internet but we still need to bake the cake!

We cannot live without the old skills too. We need doctors & nurses; bakers; plumbers, technicians; teachers; I suppose we need lawyers & accountants! But we need a farmer – we need food - every day!! Man cannot live by technology alone we also need Bread! If you can show farmers how to USE the internet not only can they find out how to deal with problems; how to increase yields – they could also access wider markets.


 Ayisha Fuseini from the Northern Region of Ghana “Shea butter was the mainstay of our entire household. Pondering over a business idea, I realized if only I could refine shea butter and reshape notions surrounding it, it could be the best sector to explore. I therefore conducted my baseline, did my market research and was awed by the response. I decided to commit to the shea butter business. We now have a women’s cooperative with over 200 members and we employ people to train them in Shea butter processing.

Traditional skills and the internet are vital to this business which is creating a better living for over 200 families. 

What does Learn with Grandma do? 

We encourage people to Take Action! All elders have skills and knowledge they need – Man cannot live by technology alone we also need Bread!

You have skills and knowledge your elders need – as you learn – so you can teach.

To do the little things you – in your schools and as individuals - can do to bring the generations together - using ICT as the bridge - so that you can have fun and work together to improve your community

It's working! Some good projects are HAPPENING!!!

Rev Samtee Turay - Sierra Leone  - Took Action & started a sewing workshop in his church. Now they have 2!!   He reported – Thank you for suggesting a sewing group - We are making big progress - we have opened a second workshop! We have rescued more young girls from the street. We asked them to come and learn skills that will help them earn a living and benefit them for the rest of their lives. We have volunteer teachers but - as we have more girls - so we need more Sewing Machines!! Now - in 2 workshops - they are making school uniforms; baby clothes & other necessities We are saving the school & orphanage money; giving training to girls; helping them to come off the streets and live better more healthy lives.

Then I wondered if they could start a vegetable garden to help feed the orphans.  They asked and the chief gave them some land; people came to help and now - they are eating the food they are growing!! Rev Sam reports – We are now making the second planting. This garden Project has helped to support the needs of our Orphans; widows and Single Mothers.

This is how Learn with Grandma is trying to help. I cannot send money - so I share ideas!!

What can you do?

 Grandma’s Digital Library

Now Grandma wants to tell you about a new HUGE project she is working on. You; your school; your community can get involved if you would like to.  35 very different countries from Canada to Australia; from Ukraine to South Africa – 16 groups in Africa - now have Learn with Grandma Groups. I wanted to find a project that would inspire people in every country. 

 The project had to be achievable using the resources; ingenuity; talent & skills that people already have. It had to bring the generations together and use technology.                   

It had to be achievable; sustainable & NOT cost much.

In fact the project could make a small profit – which can be used in your school; your community and  cover the costs of putting the story on line and promoting the e-book.

Grandma’s Digital Library!

We can start with Folk stories – every country has stories! – and we are in danger of losing so many as we lose the oral tradition of storytelling and as many books that were published in 19c & 20c go out of print. 

You have the skills; knowledge & technology to record your local folk and share them with the World!

The plan is to have the written word; the spoken word – in your local language and in English – so that people can hear both languages spoken by  first language speakers.

From English we can translate into any language – even Arabic!

 It is possible technically to have Arabic and English in the same e-book – not possible with a printed book – you just click for the language you want.

It would be wonderful to include a play based on the story so that it can be filmed. Not only can we include a film in an e-book you could perform for your school; your community. You could charge entry – or pass the hat round! The play could generate income for your school or community and cover the costs of getting the book on-line.

I suggest that you now discuss how! What story; Who  write it? Who & how to illustrate – traditional or cartoon style??  Who could film? Who take photos? Who act? Who make costumes; find props; who narrate; who play music; etc.etc. I think you will need a committee!     

Then we will try a skype link for questions but I live in the mountains and skpye is not always good here. We can use Facebook chat and write your questions.

As 1 but with my email valwoodgaiger@aol.com

Don’t worry if you did not get everything – email Valerie and she will post the presentation to you – so that you can share to your colleagues and local community

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