I asked Rai Farrelly, co-founder of Project Wezesha what she thinks the greatest needs are and how I can I best serve the students and teachers at the Amahoro Secondary School. Through our conversations, we have established that my work will consist of five main projects and one secondary project.
The main project will be to provide teacher trainings. I believe that this experience will allow me to have the largest impact because if each teacher that I interact with has 120 students in their class than I can indirectly reach an entire school. All of my musings focus on how best to relate to educators who have had a different educational background but share the same goal of having a positive impact on children.
Our daughters need help. These are not our actual daughters. They are the daughters of the world. They are the next generation of scientists, engineers, and government officials. They need the space to explore who they are as individuals. The space to develop healthy friendships with other girls to grow in support, not in competition. Our daughters need to discuss gender and sexuality: to gain the voice and confidence to give consent. They need to understand their bodies and how to take care of them. It will not be possible for me to achieve all of these desired outcomes, but I can plant seeds that will grow by facilitating an after-school girls’ club.
The term “summer slide” refers to the tendency for students to lose the academic progress they made during the school year over the summer. This is true in Tanzania as well as in the States. As result, Project Wezesha offers December study camps. This is a 30-day camp that permits students to live near school, offers three meals day, and provides instruction and academic support in various content areas. I will work alongside my Tanzanian colleagues to teach one of the classes during the study camp.
Co-teaching a humanities course in at the secondary school will permit the opportunity to support English language acquisitions of the teacher and students. It will create the space for ongoing mentoring by modeling best practices and providing observations and feedback as well as classroom support. Having worked in a middle school for nine years, I am thrilled that I will be interacting with a similar age group. I naturally gravitate to their age group; their curiosity is rich, their hearts are sincere, and their personalities and opinions still developing.
I will facilitate a Roots and Shoots program through the Jane Goodall Institute. I will use the design cycle to frame the various steps of the project for the students: identify a problem, formulate design requirements, brainstorm prototypes, design a solution, follow the plan, evaluate the solution, update the solution. Students will develop compassionate leadership skills and traits through this process while deepening their understand of the ecological, environmental, and economic impacts of their actions.
Finally, Rai reports that small cuts often lead to big infections in the village. As a Wilderness First Responder, I will not only be able to provide direct care but also share teach students how to treat basic wounds. Thus improving the health and lives of the students and their families.
I look forward to applying my experience and skills in a very different setting.