Midterm Break at the Children’s Home
Many of our kids are home this month on midterm break after a semester of improvements and strong academic accomplishments. Five of our children transitioned from public to private schools in January thanks to the generosity of sponsors. They are adjusting well to their new schools and are receiving superior education. With the Children’s Home bustling with kids home from break, we’re taking a moment to reflect on their successes (outlined in recently issued reports from their respective schools), and working to fill their days home with fun, educational activities.
Wrapping up the Semester
The kids at the Children’s Home excelled academically this term. Dorie, Kulwa, and Angel all tested in the top three of their classes. Angel and Dorie were number three in their respective classes at J.K. Nyerere Primary School, out of 27 and 34 students. Kulwa was number one out of 33 students at Valentine Primary School. After receiving their reports, many of the kids rushed up to staff members and volunteers beaming, excited to share their improvements and achievements.
Favorite activity at school: Reading books in English
Favorite subject: Science
When I grow up I want to be… A teacher or a nurse
Feelings on being #3 in her class: I feel good because I worked really hard and always listened to my teacher.
Favorite thing about school: Reading books- my school has lots of great books that help me learn English.
Favorite subject: Science
Favorite topic: Nutrition- I liked learning about nutrition because I can use it in my life and it taught me how to be strong.
Goals for next year: Next year I want to be number two; I want to keep improving and do even better.
Favorite thing about school: My teachers
When I found out I was first in my class…I felt happy. I felt good because I listened to the teachers and did revisions, and worked very hard.
Favorite subject: Geography
Advice to others: Revise and you can improve. Respect teachers and listen and you will do well.
Many of our children improved significantly this term and Pascal, Selemani, Zainabu, Richard, and Happy John adjusted well to their first term in private school. We’re very proud of all of our bright, talented, hard working kids, and never cease to be amazed by their awesome potential.
The kids at the Children’s Home are able to attend good private schools and receive quality education because of generous sponsors who fund their tuition. The difference between public and private education can be quite significant in Tanzania. According to UNICEF, the average public primary school class in Tanzania has 66 pupils. Textbooks are often shared among many students and only about half of students enrolled in government primary schools pass the primary school leavers’ examination (UNICEF 2011).
|Because of wonderful sponsors, we are able to send the kids from the Children’s Home to private schools where class sizes do not exceed 35. The children are equipped with textbooks and all the necessary school supplies and resources they need to succeed. In addition to the support they receive in the classroom, the children benefit from after school tutoring thanks to dedicated volunteers, and study hall, hosted by one of the mamas or “Auntie Mathilde,” the help2kids Children’s Home and Education Coordinator. At study hall, the kids receive homework help and play educational games once their work is complete. Many of their private school peers come from traditional, nuclear family units where they receive ample attention and academic support. The fact that our children are not just keeping up but rather, are thriving, is a testament to their volunteer tutors, the hard work of the mamas and Children’s Home and Education Coordinator, and the sheer drive the kids possess…Have we mentioned how proud we are?!
“School’s Out for the Summer”
A break from school means the usual things for our children: more time to play outside, read, and relax, but volunteers and Mathilde have also been at work to provide some special activities for the children.
After a month volunteering with help2kids in Malawi, Kaitlyn Terry arrived in Tanzania to spend her summer break volunteering at our Children’s Home. Kaitlyn finished her masters program in Art Education earlier this year. Planning to spend the summer here, she focused her research on Tanzanian art during her final semester and created a unit specifically designed for the children of the Children’s Home.
“I think relevancy is the most important thing a teacher can do with their instruction. For motivation, to promote interest, and to promote high quality work, it’s important that the topic is relevant to the students’ community and that they can connect to it,” Kaitlyn says.
Prisca thoughtfully colors a giraffe during the exercise portion of the lesson
During her first lesson, Kaitlyn introduced the kids to the work of a local artist from Dar es Salaam who paints in Tinga Tinga style, which originates in Dar es Salaam. Each lesson includes an activity that leads up to the final project, a book illustrated in Tinga Tinga style and written in both English and Kiswahili. The kids will come up with a story collectively and each child will be responsible for a page. The pages will be bound together to create the book.
Donaldi and Neema hard at work on their pictures
Mathilde has also been taking some of the children to visit Mwandaliwa Orphanage Centre. Mwandaliwa is one of our partner orphanages and is home to Mwandaliwa Nursery School, which we support and manage. Mwandaliwa is much larger than our Children’s Home. Eager for a new experience, our kids excitedly agreed to accompany Mathilde to the nursery school during break.
At Mwandaliwa, the kids from the Children’s Home play with the nursery schoolers and even lend their hands with some of the activities.
“We have very curious children,” Mathilde says. “It’s good for them to visit another children’s home and gain perspective on how others live.”
Mathilde says it is especially meaningful to watch the older children helping the younger kids at the nursery school or watching them connect with some of the older kids at Mwandaliwa, who are also home on break.
“It’s great to watch them form friendships. They may be from different backgrounds but they find common ground and connect.”
Twelve year-old Nuru and nine year-old Savera recently had the opportunity to spend the morning at Mwandaliwa.
Nuru quickly bonded with a few of the older girls. “I wanted to go there in order to make the little kids feel like someone cared about them. When I went there though, I met some girls that started asking me questions right away,” Nuru says. “They talked with me and made me feel welcome. They became my friends.”
While Nuru chatted with some girls her age, Savera stayed in the nursery helping volunteers Monica and Michéle with the activities they were leading. Savera proudly showed the younger children how to hold scissors and helped them cut out shapes for an art project.
In addition to these planned activities, July and August will bring beach trips, sports competitions, and lots of fun with volunteers! We hope your summer is off to an equally great start!
United Nations Children’s Fund. (2011) Education and Equity and Quality: Tanzania. Retrieved 18 June 2015 from http://www.unicef.org/tanzania/education.html