Houston HS students join forces with Zimbabwe students to fight world issues

HOUSTON – Students at Booker T. Washington High School are hosting a group of visitors from Zimbabwe this week.

The purpose of the trip is to learn about science and technology so, of course, one of their first stops was Space Center Houston.

Benhilda Mudziwapasi is what we would consider a high schooler in Zimbabwe. She's visiting Houston with 47 of her classmates to take part in the first international collaborative learning project between her school, Rydings

College, and Booker T. Washington High School, which is part of the Houston Independent School District.

“We are going to be learning how to make the wind turbines, how to do the water purification. Those are the two main projects that we'll be focusing on,” said Benhilda.

“Going to Zimbabwe was something that changed my life forever,” said Dr. Carlos Phillips II.

[WATCH: Zimbabwe student on where focus is for project]

Phillips is the principal of Booker T. Washington High School and the driving force behind the joint venture. The idea came to him after he visited Zimbabwe in November.

“When I was there, I did not have the opportunity to have a hot bath for a couple of days but when I would go down the street and I would see children carrying buckets of water, small children carrying buckets of water, I had no need to complain because I knew I had just at least running water,” said Phillips.

“We are way behind technology,” said Benhilda.

Though the learning began at Space Center Houston, the wind and water project will take place at Booker T Washington High School over the next week. Everyone involved hopes this 10-day trip to Houston will lead to lifelong improvements in Zimbabwe.

“Not only are we going to continue to build our resources at Booker T. Washington but we're going to make the world a better place and we're going to start in Zimbabwe,” said Phillips.

“When I go back to Zimbabwe, it's just: When they ask me, I have something to share with them," said Benhilda.

Even after the students head back to Zimbabwe, the collaboration will continue. Not only will the two groups stay in contact via email and Skype, but the hope is to have students from Booker T. Washington High School visit Zimbabwe in November to experience firsthand the kind of difference they can make in the world.