Malina is a Clever Girl

Author Portrait_Benafsha, School-based ECCD TeacherBenafsha

School-based ECCD Teacher

Save the Children in Afghanistan

April 7, 2017

I am Benafsha. I live in Maimana City of Faryab Province, in Afghanistan. I have been an Early Child Care and Development (ECCD) teacher for three years now. I love my job. I enjoy teaching little kids and preparing them for entering primary school. I think ECCD is a very important program because it prepares children for a better future early on in their lives. I have many great stories from each day of my life as an ECCD teacher, but Malina’s story is one of my favorites.

Malina is a six-year-old girl. She joined our ECCD classes two years ago. Her family is very poor and her parents are illiterate, like many of the children in my classes. When Malina first joined ECCD, she was not behaving well and had difficulties communicating. She was very shy and barely spoke to anyone. Her parents were worried about her.

Benafsha and her smiling ECCD students.
Benafsha and her smiling ECCD students.

Thanks to Sponsorship’s ECCD programs, our classroom is full and colorful. I have also received trainings from Save the Children that help me make my lessons engaging for my young students. Each day here Malina is greeted with a child-friendly and safe environment that helps encourage her to learn and play. As teachers, we help children develop their cognitive, socio-emotional and language skills, as well as skills in early literacy and math. It turned out, all this was exactly what Malina needed.

I encouraged Malina by welcoming her into opportunities to play and participate in different activities. She took the chance to communicate with the other children once they were all playing together. Day by day, Malina gained the courage and confidence to talk more and more. Today, she is a very active and intelligent little girl, which makes her mother very happy. Her mother proudly shared, “Malina is a very clever girl. She is happy and very sociable.”

A happy Malina (middle) and her sister Madina and Malya.
A happy Malina (middle) and her sister Madina and Malya.

Children who graduate from our ECCD classes perform much stronger in school compared to classmates who did not receive any pre-primary school education, and are usually the top of their class. Malina’s mother tells me, I have five daughters. All of them had normal childhoods and thrived. However, Malina struggled with talking for years. I was very worried about her future. I sometimes cried thinking about her. Fortunately, Save the Children established the [ECCD] centers for our children, and it has been two years since she started attending ECCD classes. She is very active now. She sings songs for her sisters, dances and tells us stories. We are very grateful to Save the Children for giving this great opportunity to our children.”

As an ECCD teacher working directly with the children, I find my work fulfilling although it is sometimes hard. I push my limits to go beyond my work and always try to give a little more, helping more children because they deserve to be served and they are the future of our country. I give my special thanks to each of our sponsors, and I hope their support continues so more children like Malina can have brighter futures.

We thank you, Benafsha – our programs would not be possible without hardworking, caring and dedicated teachers like you. Thank you for being our partner in changing children’s lives for the better!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

 

My First Field Visit

Charity

Charity Banda

SHN program Officer

Lufwanyama. Zambia

April 6, 2015

 

I recently joined the sponsorship team as SHN Program Officer after having worked with Save the Children as Training Coordinator under the Health project. This was my first visit to a center that is being supported under the sponsorship program. I was looking forward to seeing what really goes on.

The first Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) center we visited is at slab level and the community school is at footing level. The next ECCD centre we visited is at roof level. The team I travelled with praises the volunteers for the works that are looking proficiently done and moving at a good pace. The volunteer teachers and builders from the ECCD centre and the community school are very happy and inform the visiting team that the community has already organized more sand and stones and are anxiously waiting for the rains to subside in order for them to continue with the construction works.

The ECCD teacher tells the team that the attendance has been low for the past two days because children are afraid of attending school for fear of the stray dogs that have been terrorizing the community members. However, the officers from the Veterinary Department have been to the area to try and arrest the situation.

I am wondering why they are so excited when the works are just at slab and footing levels and far from completion, they tell me they know that they will soon have a safe place to teach and learn from unlike the past when the structures they were using were almost death traps for both the children and pupils, they say they cannot wait for the day these will be completed.

Sponsorship Programs in Zambia supports construction and rehabilitation of some ECCD centers and Community schools in Lufwanyama District to provide a quality learning environment. St Joseph’s is one of the communities were such constructions are taking place. The community’s contributions towards constructions or rehabilitation works are sand, stones and unskilled labor. Save the children program provides cement, roofing sheets, doors, glass panes, while Ministry of education provides skilled builders. In the mean time most children have their lessons from nearby local churches.

I am very excited and encouraged to be part of the team that will work with this community and help bring the much needed change to provide quality education to children. I can already see myself wanting to visit every month to follow up on the many good things I have seen and heard. Like the community, I can’t wait for the day these buildings will be complete and in use.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Visiting Early Childhood Care and Development Centers

Eman Mahrous, Early Childhood Care and Development IMG_1681Manager

Assuit, Egypt

October 26, 2012


 After an hour of driving on the Upper Egypt agricultural road we reached Kom el Mansoura village, part of the Assiut governorate, to visit one of the Early Childhood Care and Development centers.

 As I entered the classroom the children happily greeted me with awelcome song and beaming smiles. I talked with them a little to see that they are doing well, enjoying the classes and to ensure that they’re benefiting from the services Save the Children provides.

 IMG_1034After my conversation with the children they return to their coloring, drawing, and writing. During the classes, the children feel free and safe in an environment ideal for learning – one which every child should have, but unfortunately many still do not.

 One mother arrived at the center to bring her child lunch and I had a chance to speak with her. I asked if she is satisfied with the ECCD
services and if she sees positive changes in her child. She replied happily:

ECCD is like a dream come true; before we were constantly wondering why no one could see our problems and was helping our children, not even government officials. Then all of a sudden, our calls for help are answered. Now we have a safe place for our children to play and get an education that will help them make an easy transition to primary education since they are familiar with the school environment. Since joining the program our children are able to express their needs, communicate better with their peers and their behavior ha s improved.

The most important thing though is the parentIMG_0983 education sessions
that we attend.

Save the Children staff tell us all about common problems our children might face, how to solve them, the best ways to deal with our children and how can we support our children while they grow.

After hearing all of that, I can honestly say that the voices of the people we work with is the motivation which helps Save the Children staff,
like me, work harder and reach more children and communities in need with these beneficial services.

 Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more.