I volunteered this summer with the IVHQ International Volunteer Program, and received a teaching assignment in Kenya. I was stationed with a host family in the small town of Naivasha, located 2 hours outside the city of Nairobi. My host family and their neighbor created a school for young children in a slum called the KCC, where families live in extreme poverty. Most children do not get enough to eat or have the means to go to school.
The KCC Slum Project started as a feeding program, and grew into a school for children ages 3-6. Children are very excited to come to school every day, and they are fed at lunch (which is sometimes their only meal of the day). They also receive shoes and school uniforms when there are enough funds. Children at this school learn to speak English, and learn the academic content for preschool and kindergarten.
My duties at the school included working with the “baby class” (age 3-5), helping cook and feed the children, and playing with them during their free time. I enjoyed being around such enthusiastic young learners, who were always so happy to be at school despite all the hardships that they experience on a daily basis. I will take their enthusiasm back to my own 8th grade science classroom, and use it to help my students enjoy school and perform to the best of their abilities.
–by Christie Lowell, 8th Grade Teacher, Coan Middle School
I was selected to attend a five-week summer institute from June 20 – 27th in South Africa. The program was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the University of Arkansas at Monticello. From among 200 applicants, twenty-five teachers from all over the country were selected for the program.
The goal was to learn about South African history and culture, and to collect artifacts in order to create curriculum materials for our students. Lectures were delivered at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Faculty members of the University of Western Cape also delivered lectures in Cape Town.
For two weeks, we traveled throughout South Africa and Swaziland in a chartered bus, visiting sites of historical and cultural importance. Among them were Cape Town, Johannesburg, Soweto, Kimberley, and rural areas of KwaZulu Natal Province. Highlights included visits to several African townships, a school, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for years), and various museums and parks.
– by Tanya Crawford, 7th grade History Teacher, Coan Middle School