Sunday, 20 November 2016

Working with children in Kigali

Teaching young children of six years old their rights is not easy, it must not be like a lecture in class. You have to use different activities, songs, games and dances. At AMU, we are working with children of different ages, from primary one to primary six and students from secondary school. Our objective as International Citizen Service volunteers is to help these young Rwandans to know their rights without leaving anyone behind.

In Rwanda and some other African countries, young children are very excited to see white people. At AMU children are very happy for our presence but mostly for the UK volunteers; they like touching their hair and skin to explore the differences between black and white people.

Rwanda is shifting from French to English, so everyone is excited about learning English, especially the younger generation. We are using this opportunity to teach children English and other courses, like mathematics, geography and sciences, to explain them that they have the right to an education as well as other rights. To achieve this, we divide children depending on their classes.

The children from Primary one learn basic mathematics like counting in English, easy addition and subtraction, they work with two in-country volunteers and one UK volunteer. It is amazing to see those young children running around shouting loudly “P1, P1!” so that every one of them can recognize where they are standing. They work with very talented volunteers; Emmanuel is a good storyteller and managed to write simple songs to teach littles Rwandans about their rights.

The second class works with two UK volunteers and one in country volunteer, P2 are good with ABC song, multiplications and addition. They like drawing as they have the best artist among all the volunteers. Some of them are dreaming about being artists and they like to write the ‘right of the week’ on the black board where everyone will see it, all the time.

With Primary three, my class, there are two in country volunteers and a UK volunteer. We teach our kids times tables, we do spelling exercises with the alphabet and let them find the full word, and every daily session ends with everyone in our class reading an English phrase. With this reading exercise we found that some children are shy and read with quiet voices, so, to help them to be confident and teach them that they have right to express their ideas, Flora makes them read loudly and shout at the top of their lungs, they find this quite fun!

Primary four works with one in-country volunteer and two UK volunteers, and their class is formed mostly by boys. They are very active children eager to do what you ask them to do. Sometimes they come to disturb those from P3, and like to show off their newly acquired skills and knowledge. To help all children to understand that they have the right to play, every day we have one hour and half of playing. One day I showed the girls from P4 some games and encouraged them to play with their brothers the so-called ‘boy games’ to let them understand that boys and girls are equal, and they were surprised to find out that boys and girls won the same amount of games.

Finally, the kids from the fifth and the sixth class work together. They are the oldest of this group, they feel very proud of themselves and they like to show that they are smart everywhere they are. It is easy to teach them, and their maturity allows us to go into more complicated topics. For example, sometimes we make up scenarios about child abuse and child protection and let them discuss until they reach the right conclusion independently.

The life of a volunteer is an amazing life: it empowers you as you empower others, and I am proud to participate in the ICS placement.

Murakoze! Thank you!


No comments:

Post a Comment