Meet Florence, Nembere Community Volunteer

Florence

Florence

Community Volunteer

Nembere Village, Malawi

July 10, 2015

 

My name is Florence Chokani and I come from Nembere Village. I am a community volunteer who encourages children of my area to go to school. I also teach children in Literacy Boost camps and work as a care giver in a Community-Based Child Care Center.

I started volunteer work with Save the Children in 2010, as a camp leader helping children read and write after school. Then in 2011, I joined Early Childhood Care and Development as a caregiver, where I was responsible for teaching children under the age of six. Additionally, my community selected me to be a Sponsorship Agent, after seeing the passion that I have for my community, for which I helped track enrolled children for their eligibility. This year the community has also entrusted me with another responsibility: representing youth in my area as a Youth Community Based Distribution Agent.

I started volunteering with Save the Children because I wanted to help children in my community. I would love to see an educated community in the future, which will be a breeding ground for development. My dream has always been to work alongside communities in shaping the lives of children. I have been given that opportunity thanks to Save the Children.

I also started volunteering because I wanted to learn new things, for myself as well as for people close to me. For instance, in terms of child development, I have learned how to teach and communicate with children. I have learned how to recognize child problems and abuse and how to counsel children. Above all, I have learned and appreciated how Save the Children’s sponsorship program works and impacts the lives of children, which I gladly share with caregivers and parents.

Volunteering has some added benefits: it keeps me occupied and the community values me a lot because of the support that I provide. I am content knowing that. However, nothing gets me more excited than the children. Whether out of school or in school, they always run to me because they know my presence. Knowing the impact I have on the children makes me feel special – it makes me proud to be a member of the community.

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

Kariwang: Favorite Dish of West Sumba

Modjo

Modjo Kale Jami

Program Assistant

Jakarta, Indonesia

July 7, 2015

 

The familiar smell of kariwang, or mashed cassava leaves, permeates the air. The appealing smell combines the cassava leaves with a blend and marination of coconut, basil, and lime. I have been accustomed to this smell all my life. It is my family’s favorite dish. I can hardly resist the smell and temptation while preparing it. 

Food

The favorite dish of West Sumba, Kariwang

Mashed cassava leaves, or kariwang in the Wanukaka dialect of West Sumba, Indonesia, is a favorite dish of most Sumbanese families. Eating kariwang is at the same time a moment of togetherness. Sumbanese people eat kariwang during family events while trading stories. As a native Sumbanese, I have been eating kariwang all my life and have always taken pleasure in the joy the food and the moment brings. If I was away and felt homesick, I cooked kariwang to bring in a warm feeling that could refresh and heal.

The cooking of kariwang is easy. Most women in Sumbanese families know how to cook this favorite dish. The main ingredient, cassava leaves, can be found in the backyard of most family houses. Spices can also either be obtained from one’s backyard or bought from a nearby traditional market. Onion, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, curcuma, lime, coconut milk, and basil are among the spices used to produce the irresistable smell. 

Cooking

Preparing the favorite dish of West Sumba.

The first step is smashing the cassava leaves. They are pounded with a wooden mortar and pestle together with onion, garlic, salt, and a handful of rice, until all the ingredients are evenly mixed and become juicy.

The next step is to prepare for two types of coconut milk. The first is thicker, having more oil content, and the second is more dilluted, having more water content. Light the fire and get your cooking pot ready, then pour in the dilluted coconut milk and wait for a few minutes until it becomes warm. Next, add the raw mixture of kariwang into the cooking pot and wait until it boils.

When it starts to boil, stir and lower the fire. At the same time, add basil, curcuma, galangal, lemongrass, and lime to the mixture. Thin slices of dried fish can also be used. Then, pour in the thicker coconut milk. Let the ingredients marinate for a while and then keep stiring. When the color of the coconut milk turns grayish, the mixture blends into one and the rich smell permeates the air. The kariwang is then ready to be served.

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

Still There Are Many Miles I Have to Go!

Desa

Desalegn Mulugeta

West Showa Impact Area Manager

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

July 2, 2015

 

As a West Showa Impact Area Manager, I have the privilege of visiting different program sites and sharing in the lives of the disadvantaged children there. As part of my routine visits, I traveled to West Welega, Mendi. This visit opened up an opportunity for me to see the school where I myself had completed grades 1 through 8. Since I had not seen the school for 28 years, I decided not to miss the opportunity. 

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Desalegn in his classroom in West Welega, Mendi.

It was with mixed feelings that I entered the compound. Inside one of the classrooms, I was taken back to an event that happened when I was in grade 3. I used to travel 3 hours on foot to reach school every day. One day, I was so tried and was taking a nap while my English teacher was teaching. My teacher noticed and threw a piece of chalk at me and hit my eye. Even though my eye continued tearing for two days, I didn’t tell the situation to my family.

The trees in the compound were planted when I was in grade 3 also. I participated in planting these trees. They have grown tall and are giving their shade to people and animals, in the same way a child today may change his or her nation tomorrow. I always remember the encouraging words of my grandfather, who raised me. He would say, “You shouldn’t be illiterate like me. You have to finish your school and be someone tomorrow.” I recall the ups and downs of my everyday experiences in primary education. Looking after cattle, fetching water from the river, collecting firewood, travelling long distances- these were all challenges during my primary school years. The challenges are still there for children in rural communities. Some even face greater challenges than mine, like the risk of rape and abduction while traveling to school. 

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Desalegn in his school building in West Welega, Mendi.

I noticed that classrooms had not been added and no Early Childhood Care and Development centers (ECCDs) had been created. As a result, young children will have to stay at home until they can be enrolled in grade 1 at age 7. I also saw that the children are still using unprotected water sources, like the river. I imagined how many children are staying home feeling sick from the unprotected water.

I feel down, for the children from my school are still drinking unsafe water and transportation to school still remains a great challenge. But I also feel pride and happiness with Save the Children’s intervention in Mendi. I have a long journey and large commitment ahead of me. I have to help children go to school, create conducive learning environments for them to stay in school, and improve the quality of education here.

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

The Right to Education

Abeer

Abeer Bakeer

Basic Education Assistant

Arab Al Atteyat, Egypt

June 22, 2015

 

My name is Abeer Bakeer. I am the Basic Education Assistant in the sponsorship program, where every day I am confronted by parents who lack basic knowledge of health, hygiene, and maybe cannot read, as well as poorly equipped schools and teachers. Despite all this children still exhibit a great desire to improve themselves.

Library

Abeer with a group children at the school library

One memorable moment which illustrates this occurred when I was in Arab Al Atteyat, a culturally Bedouin village far from many basic services, monitoring some educational activities there. A parent came to take his child home from school for an unknown reason. The child passionately refused because he wanted to remain to solve a specific math problem he was working on!

When I graduated, I volunteered with several community projects that serve marginalized people. I really enjoyed the social aspect of the work. When a permanent position became available with Save the Children, I jumped at the chance. I have worked in this role for one year now, where I spend five days weekly serving needy children.

School

Abeer with a group children at school

Over the past seven years, Save the Children in Egypt has worked with the Ministry of Education, our local partners, schools, teachers, and children. We work closely with teachers on classroom management techniques, lesson planning, and supporting children to be leaders. When children cannot read, we help them to learn. And they do.

The thing I am most proud of is how children change, changes I see. Thank you, sponsors, for helping to support our work.

How do you think having to fight for your right to an education could affect a young child’s attitude towards learning? Do you think the challenges school age children face in impoverished communities to attend school makes their desire to learn stronger?

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

By Taking Care of My Teeth, I Take Care of My Health

Robin

Robin Quiroga Calderon

Sponsorship Program Implementation Facilitator

Cochabamba, Bolivia

May 18, 2015

 

Hello Friends. I am Robin Quiroga and I am the Sponsorship Program Implementation Facilitator here in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I want to share with you my experience working with the sponsorship program of School Health and Nutrition in one of our schools.

Kids

Juan David, Jhoel Alex & Yimer showing their dental hygiene kits

First, Save the Children provided children with dental hygiene kits, comprised of toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a water cup. We also joined with parents in requesting the help of the Faculty of Dentistry, from the University of San Simon, to teach children proper dental hygiene.

This effort turned into a "Dental Hygiene Campaign" during which 50 students from the Faculty of Dentistry helped in training children from pre-school up to sixth grade on dental hygiene, brushing techniques, prevention, and dental care. They did this using participatory and hands-on methodologies, such as theater sketches, puppet shows, paintings, and games. Additionally, children practiced brushing their teeth in their classrooms, using their new dental hygiene kits. Faculty of Dentistry students even performed teeth cleanings, with fluoride, in order to prevent cavities.

Class

Dentistry students Anahi and Ronaldino explaining toothbrusing techniques

All in all, this was a fun day for children who were excited to learn how to care for their teeth. Some had never visited the dentist and for them, this was an extra special experience.

School teachers were very happy and grateful to Save the Children and the students of the University of San Simon for working together to improve dental hygiene for so many children. This effort reminded me, once again, of the importance of coordinating our activities with parents and other partners, and of the successes we can achieve by doing so!

How old were you when you learned proper brushing techniques? Who taught you? Consider how difficult keeping your mouth feeling clean and healthy must be if your family could not afford a toothbrush! In honor of the generosity and time of the University of San Simon dentistry students, we ask you to consider an extra special donation to support more clean mouths and happy children!

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

Interactive Hygiene, Water Safety, and Sanitation Classes for the Children of Meherpur Sadar

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Dr. Asadur Rahman

Senior Manager, School Health Nutrition

Meherpur, Bangladesh

May 4, 2015

Earlier this year I traveled to Meherpur, accompanied by other senior specialists and managers of School Health Nutrition. The purpose of our travel was to observe our new Community Based Health Education sessions, and to visit some primary schools in Meherpur Sadar and the Gangni sub-districts.

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Students of Gondhorajpur at the Handwashing Corner

We first met with Head Teachers and School Management Committee members. We observed classroom-based health education sessions and demonstrations of hand washing at the hand washing corner in the schools. The children participated in the health education class very attentively and enthusiastically. To increase attendance rates through ensuring good health, additional teacher-led health education sessions are being implemented at primary schools according to individual class routine, along with weekly sessions included in physical education for all grades.

To answer the need for more education sessions on water, sanitation, and hygiene on a community level, the sponsorship program has started a new Community Based Health Education (CBHE) initiative in the Sadar sub-district in Meherpur. The objective of this new initiative is to increase the knowledge and skill of children ages 5 through 12 regarding water, sanitation, and hygiene through community based education sessions. Groups consist of 12 to 15 primary school age children, and are facilitated by 2 of the older students, 10 to 12 years old, from the community. The CBHE session we participated in was very enjoyable and interactive. The facilitators always aim to include innovative methods in each session.

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Facilitator Conducting Sanitation and Hygiene Session

How do you think we can help emphasize the importance of water safety, sanitation, and hygiene to primary school age children? Sponsorship program staff always aim to make learning fun, please share your ideas with us!

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

Why Help American Children?

Nicole

Nicole Smith

Sponsorship Team

Fairfield, USA

April 27, 2015

 

Having recently joined the US sponsorship team at Save the Children (STC), I have been afforded a privileged perspective of the mechanisms behind US humanitarianism as well as an understanding of its real-world challenges. From building program evaluation tools and data analysis that shape the future of US programming to reviewing thousands of photos of sponsored children, my time with STC sponsorship enables the necessary marriage of lofty goals with knowledge of what supporting children day-to-day in schools across the country takes.

But why children? Why American children?
My time with STC prompts me to reflect on the fruit of our work. As a cultural anthropology Ph.D. student researching humanitarian aid, I perpetually ask why help goes to one and not another person, cause, or place. Through my studies, I know that American children face unique developmental, environmental, and health-related challenges. Few places in the world do we see children experiencing simultaneous malnutrition and obesity or illiteracy amidst free education. My studies also tell me that, despite the challenges, targeting US youth can result in significant and sustainable impacts.

For my colleagues and I, the answer to “Why help American children?” is because STC successfully addresses the unique challenges US children face by making local impact for the next generation. I know this from the program results STC tirelessly tracks, but also as a sponsorship team member, I get to hear from the children themselves. The Lexington, KY office reviews thousands of letters from children to their sponsors. It is common to read “Now I know I’m a smart boy”, or “I’m good at reading” in a child’s scribbly handwriting. While STC tracks program results, hearing first-hand that a child isn’t “afraid to read out loud in class” breathes life to statistics behind sponsorship and the programs it funds.

Knowing that work done by the STC sponsorship team ultimately contributes to benefitting children in local communities and across the states is not only personally gratifying, it substantiates humanitarianism for the many American children facing unique challenges today.

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

Nezamuddin Learns to Make #Teaching Easier and Fun

Author

Amanullah Qasemi

Education Officer

Faryab Province, Afghanistan

April 20, 2015

 

Nezamuddin is one of the teachers in Gorziwan district of Faryab Province, one of the Sponsorship impact areas in Afghanistan. He is 57 years old and has been a teacher for the last 12 years. Nezamuddin teaches history, math, Dari, and Islamic subjects for grades 7th to 9th and is also a member of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). He is married and has seven children, four sons and three daughters. He has 14 grandchildren and all his unmarried eligible sons, daughters, and grandchildren are going to school.

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Nezamuddin Presenting

Nezamuddin is a very friendly man and always welcomes me warmly when I meet him out in the field. He says that the majority of parents in their community are illiterate due to limited access to education and several years of civil war. He adds that also a decade ago parents were not interested in sending their children to school because they didn’t know about the importance of education. But after Save the Children started programs in their village in 2006 and established the PTA as a bridge between the school, the community and the parents, PTA members and teachers mobilized the community and raised awareness. Now the majority of school-aged children are attending school. He says that now all parents in his village believe that education is the right of each child and have dreams for their children to complete their education and become teachers, doctors, and engineers and serve their community by earning money for their livelihood from such a good way.

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Nezamuddin in a Work Group

Nezamuddin has seen a noticeable difference since Save the Children entered his community. He says that lecture was the only teaching method before, but now he and the other teachers use different active child-centered methods in the class, through interesting and child friendly teaching and learning materials. Nezamuddin continues to receive training on child-centered methodologies, positive discipline methods, and disaster risk reduction. Save the Children has also provided access to books for the children, playground equipment in the school yard, safe latrines and drinking water, construction of a school boundary wall for ensuring safety, and school desks and chairs. Nezamuddin says these have all been factors to increase child attendance rates and learning outcomes. The children are interested in attending class and participate and learn better. Nezamuddin adds, “As a teacher, teaching a class has been much easier and more enjoyable for me now comparing to the past.” Nezamuddin thanks Save the Children and sponsors for supporting their school, teachers, and children and providing such a golden opportunity for them!

Your sponsorship has helped to make the Gorziwan district PTA and other teaching programs possible. What other ways would you like to hear about how your sponsorship helps children?

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

Helping Children Understand Their Rights

Faimi

Faimi P. Moscova

Sponsorship Manager

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

April 13, 2015

 

The Convention on the Rights of a Child, a United Nations human rights treaty, is quite complex and utopian to a child’s mind, but when summarized and explained it becomes more tangible. Being conscious of this, the Sponsorship Education Team used this approach to increase children’s participation in commemorating the Global Child Rights Day. As our program in Dessalines includes children’s advocacy within the schools and communities, we wanted to do something special for the children themselves to be promoters of their own rights.

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A Student Her Work on Children’s Rights

The activities were welcome by the nine participating schools and teachers were very supportive in facilitating the peer learning sessions. The peer learning experience played an important role in helping the children to understand their entitlements and their roles as members of their communities. The students benefited from an in-depth examination of the children’s rights principles, to then compare to what challenges they face every day. Afterwards, children from 1st to 3rd grade were invited to create drawings, while children from 4th to 6th grade developed short essays, reflecting on the rights they had learned about and their points of view.

Students then presented their works to their communities, with the support of their respective school staff. One memorable text was written by a 5th grade girl who is a restavèk, a domestic worker who goes to school in the afternoon. She never thought about being a victim in regards to her rights, but as she acquired full knowledge she wanted to raise awareness by sharing her story. She told of the things that she would have loved to enjoy as an adolescent. “People don’t give children restavèk enough food to eat, they don’t let them sleep early whereas they are the ones to wake up first in the morning.” She continued, “Even children in restavèk must have the right to sleep, to go to school, and the right to have three meals a day.”

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Three Students Receiving Awards

With her new knowledge on her rights as a child, she believes with a good education she will be able to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. What do you know about the Convention on the Rights of a Child? How does helping children understand their rights in relationship to their community and the greater world support their education and their development?

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.