Lack of volunteers during the pandemic means that schools, community centres and local businesses are in danger of missing out on the skills regularly shared with them by volunteers travelling to the projects.
School curriculums in the countries where we work rarely include creative or performing arts, so volunteers are frequently asked to share skills in areas such as art, crafts and music. Schools and other child support projects have few resources for creative work, but children and their teachers love ideas for stimulating creativity and are very resourceful in finding ways to make use of what resources are available.
Sciences are often taught as fact-based subjects with little opportunity (or equipment) for practical experiments. Volunteers travelling to the projects have frequently provided ideas for active learning across the curriulum which local teachers have been keen to use with their classes.
Teaching methods still tend to be based around the textbook, and with large class sizes and few resources there is little opportunity for active learning.
With the absence of volunteers in situ teachers and their students are not hearing native english speakers - so important for language development.
Many people in developing countries dream of starting up their own businesses, often there is little or no business training in the areas they live. Lack of technology until recent years means many teachers of business courses and many older people in business have little knowledge of contemporary business skills such as designing and using a spreadsheet, making a business plan, producing a Powerpoint presentation or designing and maintaining a website - all essential skills for the modern world and ones which volunteers frequently help local people to develop.
Lack of volunteers during the pandemic means that schools and educational establishments are in danger of missing out on the key learning opportunities provided by story reading. Books are not always available locally and any that are available are often prohibitively expensive. Many countries do not have a culture of reading together at home, and most families do not own books.
Filming yourself reading a children's story is a great way to fill this gap in their education. The videos you make can be shared with teachers at various educational projects around the world. When schools reopen they can be used by teachers in the classroom as a basis for project work or to reinforce areas of learning, and to practise spoken and written English. While schools remain closed they can be sent out to children via social media as part of an online learning package. Teachers reviewing their curriulum while schools are closed can take the opportunity to build a greater variety of stories, with their associated learning, into their lesson planning.
Whether you are a professional teacher or classroom assistant, a grandparent who enjoys reading to their grandchildren, or simply someone who enjoys books yourself, we can certainly use your help in this initiative.
Reading stories is a key educational activity performed by volunteers in classrooms around the world. Reading stories together helps children's listening skills and their ability to focus. Talking about the stories together helps develop children's imaginations and their ability to express themselves. Stories read in English, a second or third language for children in the countries we support, helps children's understanding of the language, their pronunciation and their reading ability. Well-chosen stories form the basis of learning in many ways, enlarging the children's understanding of the world. A love of books, learned at an early age, forms the basis for education throughout a person's life.
Story books introduced by volunteers have been built into the curriculum of many of the projects we support. They form the basis for development of literacy and are a key element in topic-based curriculums.
We hope to build up an online library of stories specifically for use by the educational establishments we support. Books are being chosen carefully, with input from our local partners, to make sure they are culturally appropriate and support the different learning areas they have identified.
All these areas of learning are less likely to be developed while volunteers are not able to travel to projects to share their skills with local people.
Whether you are a person with business and administration skills ,a professional teacher or classroom assistant, someone who enjoys arts and crafts or someone with a talent for music,or you simply would like to read out loud for a child - we can certainly use your help in this initiative. You can share your skills, experience, talent and enthusiasm with people in many countries around the world, all from the comfort of your own home.