Africa's Children in Education

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Arise School Making a Difference: finding out what the families think

Our three volunteers are now back home reflecting on their 10 week experience at the school and writing up their research projects. The home visits which they undertook and have previously written about were an important part of their research. They were also important for the charity and the school. For the charity, we wanted to know how the school was benefitting the children, their families and the wider community. For the school, it was important to remain aware of the children’s home circumstances and anything that might hinder their learning.

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This was an integral part of Beth’s research. She writes:
“Each day we did home visits for the children. Most children lived in extremely basic conditions, nothing like we have ever experienced before. Their small and cramped houses, lack of electricity and water, and the dirty and cluttered environment of their homes made it very emotionally challenging to witness. One thing which struck us most was some of the most deprived children seemed the happiest and most responsive at school during our lessons.

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The majority of the families expressed a huge amount of gratitude for the school and its work in the community, asking if they could use their free time to help in any way at the school. Some families had worries about affording health care for their children. This led us to take one child for several hospital trips and eventually paying for a small operation which he will have in early September.

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Other families had queries about the future development of the school. We were able to provide them with information which they needed and help settle any concerns they had. This outlined the importance of the school continuing to grow and to be able to provide the children with a full primary education as it aspires to do. It was lovely hearing how proud they were of their children and it gave us the motivation to continue to work hard at the school.

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The home visits allowed us to see deeper into what the school meant for the children providing somewhere where they could be safe to play and learn like every child should have the right to do but also a chance to have a break away from the harder and tougher lives which they lead at home.”

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We heard this week that, supported by one of the school’s local volunteers, James, the child referred to has had his operation – a tonsillectomy – and is recovering well. Although a minor operation, the cost of the hospital appointments and the operation are well beyond the means of his grandmother who cares for him. This is the case for the majority of families with children at the school. Sadly, for these children, health care and treatment are non existent. We are very grateful to the volunteers for giving this little boy a better quality of life. “Asante sana”, Beth, Tamsin and Emily.

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