Sunday, July 8, 2007

Teaching Teachers

Work. So what exactly does my day involve, besides weaving in and out of traffic? our first workshop took place in Kampala with Grace Ministries in Katwe, an area of cramped wood and brick, tin-roofted housing for transient people moving from outside Kampala into and around the city. The organization is led by a tireless, generous-hearted, forward-thinking man named Pastor Livingston. He and his church began a school to meet the needs of local children; the teachers are volunteers who teach 3 classes (the baby, middle and top classes) everything they know from 7 to 1. With few resources, no books and no desks, such a challenging job is made that much more challenging. Imagine needing to sharpen pencils with razor blades because the class doesn't have a sharpener.

And this is a common story among underfunded schools, like the other schools we saw in rural Buganga (named after the smell of gunpowder from the civil war that took place there) and at the Ray of Hope area (built on the now defunct railroad lands - a temporary settlement where the government refuses to give over deeds or do anything with the land). there are simply not enough resoures and teachers are working tirelessly for little to no pay. But they do their work to the best of their abilities and smile at the end of the day. where we come in is to give teachers an opportunity to learn some professional skills we as teachers have been fortunate to learn; basing lessons on national standards (which we've found written by the Ugandan National Curriculum development Council and are distributing), planning units and lessons, learning theory and teaching literacy and ESL.

Meanwhile, some of our team members are also helping org leaders capacity build by setting them up to be able to write grants. A fortuitous meeting with people from Camara project have also helped us to help Grace get access to computers and training. Synergy is a wonderful thing. Our resident nurse has also had a challenging job of teaching first aid to community leaders and purchasing first aid for the organizations; this made more challenging by the extent and source of people's medical needs. how do you advise a woman on ways to stay healthy when her roof is leaking and she cannot afford proper nutrition? The more we see, the more need we see for work to be done by those who are able in communities here, and the need for those in positions of privilege and power to enable those doing good work on the ground; whether through funding, skills training, or better yet, changing the systems and structures that prevent greater equality on this planet we all share.

Posted by Jasmine

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