Hi, Jess from the US here, new help2kids marketing intern and assistant manager at the children’s home. I arrived in Dar es Salaam about two weeks ago with Jo, our new volunteer coordinator from the UK. We are settling into our new positions and our new lives very well. We live at the children’s home, which means we get to be around these amazing kids all the time! It is truly a joy to see the wonderful job our mamas and volunteers are doing to help our kids grow.
As part of my assistant manager job, I am in charge of helping the children with their homework in the evenings. Our volunteers do a great job tutoring some of the children in the afternoons too, but with 30 kids there is a lot of homework to be done! We have revamped our little classroom and it is now the place we run to at the newly established STUDY TIME. The classroom is cozy, well-lit, and the walls are covered in the alphabet, colors, and numbers. Study time means we work quietly to finish our homework, we don’t distract others, and we do our best! The kids have taken to study time and they are really putting effort into studying- they want to see their names on the Good Job! board.
When homework is finished, the kids can choose to read a book or go to bed. They love reading so it is a great reward for diligent studying. Often they want to read out loud to me or Jo and we struggle to balance the four children who all want to read at once. Their enthusiasm for reading is fantastic! The adventures of pirates, Snow White, or the ugly duckling captivate them nightly.
(we could always use more early reading books!)
Jo and I have been touring around all the help2kids projects in Dar and we most recently visited Kunduchi nursery school. Kunduchi overwhelmed me at first. There are so many kids- clinging to my arms, squashed onto benches, shouting good morning. The overwhelmed feeling quickly vanished as I saw how well Dzinyeto, the director, leads the students. A natural teacher, Dzinyeto has the crowded classroom under control in seconds, and the children eagerly answer his questions. After the kids shout the good morning song at Dzinyeto, they are divided into four classes and the volunteers work with the smaller groups on letters, vocabulary, counting, and colors. The volunteers do a wonderful job of carrying out focused lessons, providing individual attention where it is needed.
Volunteers love the project at Kunduchi because of the energy the kids bring. The morning reception of many hugs and cheerful greetings, is a great way to start the day. The project allows volunteers to flex their teaching muscles and really learn how to engage a class of fidgety children. They do a great job. The children really remember the songs, games, and vocabulary taught by the volunteers. By the time the children fist-bump their goodbyes, they have learned new English words, made new friends and enjoyed their education.
I am thrilled to be in Dar es Salaam to witness and partake in the work help2kids is doing here. The importance of this work is reinforced every time a child runs past my door and shouts “Good morning sista Jess!” or eagerly reads the next chapter in Snow White. I look forward to recording moments like these and keeping you all involved in the work of help2kids over the next year. Baadaye (later)!