Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’


Why kids in SE Asia need your support

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Why we are supporting Child’s Dream…

We both care about children – Chris works with vulnerable young people and children in crisis, Liz volunteered for a charity called Home Start which supports families with children under 5.  So we are both passionate about supporting children and their families, to give them the confidence, knowledge and belief that they can improve their situation or make changes in their lives.

Sustainability

We both want to work with a charity whose projects are sustainable… ‘give a man a fish and he can feed his family for a day, teach a man to fish and he can feed his family for a lifetime’. Child’s Dream goes one step further than that and works with the communities to find out what they need…is fishing the best option? Do you even want to fish? The projects provide infrastructure, community development and resources, building both sustainable school structures and lasting relationships with the villagers. The communities are actively involved and ultimately have ownership of the projects, with a vested interest in their survival.

Risks to children in Southeast Asia

In the UK we are very aware of the suffering of children in Africa and it’s easy to forget that there are other children in the world who live in equal poverty. South East Asia is one of the poorest places for a child to grow up. The risks children face include child trafficking, being force into the sex industry, forced resettlement or displacement, as well as a lack of basic healthcare and clean water, often living in families surviving on just a few dollars a day.

Despite the vast array of 24hr news channels and newspapers online, there is very limited coverage or reportage about this region and the lives of the people who live here. No one hears much about the lives of children living in Thailand, Loas, Cambodia, Burma or Vietnam. No one tells their stories.

Globalisation – cheap goods and cheap labour

Here in the UK we enjoy buying cheap products from linen shirts to DVD players that cost just £30, we expect to eat a wide variety of food all year round from king prawns to mangos.  What we forget or don’t know is that many of the foods and products that we want, come from South East Asia and the people who grow, produce and manufacture these things for the west, live in poverty. There is a human cost, if not a retail cost!

Whilst globalisation has benefited some, it has also led to a change in the way of life for many. With increased urbanisation and industrial development, people are under pressure to go to the cities to earn more money, moving away from their families and working and living under harsh conditions. As few are very well educated, the only option open to them is factory work, manufacturing items or processing food mostly for export. Even the governments in this region focus on the development of natural resources for export, not on the development of communities.

Surely we can’t just keep taking? Surely it’s time to give something back?

Education and a future

Education is key to the children in this region. Whilst some may consider the idea of Europeans arriving in countries and prescribing education as the answer, as arrogant or may argue that it undermines their way of life – subsistence farming and agriculture – we don’t believe this to be true or fair. Their way of life has already been undermined and changed forever by the impact of globalisation and urbanisation, by our demand for cheap goods and cheap labour, and their governments’ policies on trade and export. If farming is no longer a long term option, then education will give children a chance to learn skills and equip them with knowledge to understand the world they are growing up in. Education gives people choices, the children may have little in terms money, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have aspirations to grow up and do something interesting with their lives, or at the very least earn enough money to be able to support their families.

Education and a school environment also provides stability, where perhaps there is little elsewhere in their lives. It gives children self-esteem and self-belief, empowering them to learn and grow with confidence. School isn’t just about learning, it is a place to find  out who you are and what you can do, you may be musical or artistic, or good at sport, good with other children; a place where people listen to you and share with you.  Why should we deny any child access to education, everyone deserves the choice and the chance to become who they really are.

Child’s Dream are giving children and their families that choice.

To make a donation please visit:  http://childsdream.org/donate/ and let us know too so we can add you to our grand total.  We really value your support, thanks!

Why we are supporting Child’s Dream…

We both care about children – Chris works with vulnerable young people and children in crisis, Liz volunteers for a charity called Home Start which supports families with children under 5. So we are both passionate about supporting children and their families, to give them the confidence, knowledge and belief that they can improve their situation or make changes in their lives.

Sustainability

We both want to work with a charity whose projects are sustainable… ‘give a man a fish and he can feed his family for a day, teach a man to fish and he can feed his family for a lifetime’. Child’s Dream goes one step further than that and works with the communities to find out what they need…is fishing the best option? Do you even want to fish? The projects provide infrastructure, community development and resources, building both sustainable school structures and lasting relationships with the villagers. The communities are actively involved and ultimately have ownership of the projects, with a vested interest in their survival.

Risks to children in Southeast Asia

In the UK we are very aware of the suffering of children in Africa and it’s easy to forget that there are other children in the world who live in equal poverty. South East Asia is one of the poorest places for a child to grow up. The risks children face include child trafficking, being force into the sex industry, forced resettlement or displacement, as well as a lack of basic healthcare and clean water, often living in families surviving on just a few dollars a day.

Despite the vast array of 24hr news channels and newspapers online, there is very limited coverage or reportage about this region and the lives of the people who live here. No one hears much about the lives of children living in Thailand, Loas, Cambodia, Burma or Vietnam. No one tells their stories.

Globalisation – cheap goods and cheap labour

Here in the UK we enjoy buying cheap products from linen shirts to DVD players that cost just £30, we expect to eat a wide variety of food all year round from king prawns to mangos.  What we forget or don’t know is that many of the foods and products that we want, come from South East Asia and the people who grow, produce and manufacture these things for the west, live in poverty. There is a human cost, if not a retail cost!

Whilst globalisation has benefited some, it has also led to a change in the way of life for many. With increased urbanisation and industrial development, people are under pressure to go to the cities to earn more money, moving away from their families and working and living under harsh conditions. As few are very well educated, the only option open to them is factory work, manufacturing items or processing food mostly for export. Even the governments in this region focus on the development of natural resources for export, not on the development of communities.

Surely we can’t just keep taking? Surely it’s time to give something back?

Education and a future

Education is key to the children in this region. Whilst some may consider the idea of Europeans arriving in countries and prescribing education as the answer, as arrogant or may argue that it undermines their way of life – subsistence farming and agriculture – we don’t believe this to be true or fair. Their way of life has already been undermined and changed forever by the impact of globalisation and urbanisation, by our demand for cheap goods and cheap labour, and their governments’ policies on trade and export. If farming is no longer a long term option, then education will give children a chance to learn skills and equip them with knowledge to understand the world they are growing up in. Education gives people choices, the children may have little in terms money, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have aspirations to grow up and do something interesting with their lives, or at the very least earn enough money to be able to support their families.

Education and a school environment also provides stability, where perhaps there is little elsewhere in their lives. It gives children self-esteem and self-belief, empowering them to learn and grow with confidence. School isn’t just about learning, it is a place to find  out who you are and what you can do, you may be musical or artistic, or good at sport, good with other children; a place where people listen to you and share with you.  Why should we deny any child access to education, everyone deserves the choice and the chance to become who they really are.

Child’s Dream are giving children and their families that choice.

Related Blog Entries

 Subscribe in a reader or enter your email address and get the next post via email

Delivered by FeedBurner

Winter Cycling in Kazakhstan and Almaty

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

We made it to our warm showers host and were met by Robbie another British Cyclist who was staying with Taz.  Taz an Aussie, lives in Kazakhstan, working as a pilot for one of the local air lines, in between all this, he spends his time adventure racing, cycling and climbing in the local mountains.

We spent a week at Taz’s flat and got to know Robbie and the lovely Kazakh family that lived with Taz.  Robbie is on a three year cycle trip called Global Guitar. Armed with his guitar, he is making some amazing music on the road, it was great to have met him and we love his first album. He produced it on the road, and it can be downloaded here, for free. If you are feeling generous a small contribution would go a long way to helping him continue his trip and support the charity ‘Here the world Foundation’ that he is raising awareness for whilst he is cycling.

Taz our warm showers host has a seemingly endless amount of energy and was really keen to do some cycling with us while we were here.  This sounded great as i was keen to see a bit of Kazakhstan before we flew to Kiev, Ukraine.  His planned route was over a mountain plateau that was likely to be covered in snow.  To me this sounded like a perfect adventure.  So on Taz’s next days off we packed up the bikes and set off for a winter cycling adventure.

Liz on the other hand was enjoying spending time with the kids of the Kazakh family that we were also living with.  Painting, drawing, baking cakes, living room gymnastics and teaching English were a lot more appealing to Liz than cycling over a mountain in the winter so she opted to stay behind while Taz and I went on a boys adventure.

Taz and I made a little film of our trip so rather than words i shall let the pictures do the talking.  It was an amazing two and a half days and has certainly whet my appetite for cycling and exploring Kazakhstan some more.

After the trip Margulan, the father of the Kazakh family, who is also an international Taekwondo champion managed to get us an interview with the national paper, if you can read Kazakh then please check it out here. If anyone fancies translating it please send us an email.  Thanks a lot to the journalist for taking the time to write our story.

Our time in Almaty came to an end and we managed to get a picture of the Kazakhstan flag before we left, especially for Mr E and then made our way to the airport.

2011-11-11 003

This was the first plane for us in a long time, I felt remarkably happy about taking it. The trade off was worth it.  More time in one place = less time in another but just enough to tickle the travelling taste buds, andwe’ll be sure to come back for a proper travelling feast in the future.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who helped us during our short stay in Kazakhstan.  We loved your country and you will not be forgotten.

Related Blog Entries

 Subscribe in a reader or enter your email address and get the next post via email

Delivered by FeedBurner

Connecting Children: Brightening Futures

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Take a look at this fantastic opportunity to be part of a global project that aims to engage students, help them learn about other countries and cultures, make their learning real and allow them to make a difference to other people’s lives.


Heard about the Ugandan Global Project?  If not, take a look now.
Inspired?
Want to do something similar?
Read on to find out more.

If you are interested in taking part in this global charity/educational project or would just like to know a bit more, leave a comment expressing your interest and teacher Sarah Leakey or Bikeabout will get back to you shortly.
At present, the proposed time for the project would be May to July 2011.
Sarah will have a Year 2 (Grade 1) class however we hope that won’t put teachers with older classes off and home schoolers.  We already have 6 groups involved.  It would be great to get both a range of ages and a mix of similar ages to broaden the experience for all involved.

See the edublog to find out what has happened already http://connectingchildren.edublogs.org/

Aims:

To broaden our own children’s horizons by letting them experience other countries and cultures from all walks of life.

To empower our children to make a difference and show them that you’re never too small to make a change.

Provide them with a real context for a whole host of valuable learning opportunities.

Have a huge amount of fun!

Help Child’s Dream and Bikeabout build a school for underprivileged children in the Mekong Sub-Region

childsdreamlogosm Supporting The Charity: Child’s Dream

Child’s dream was established in 2003 by Marc Jenni and Daniel Siegfried as a charity organisation dedicated to unconditional help for underprivileged children in the ‘Mekong Sub-Region’ which includes Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.  This region is at the core of many humanitarian crises and children are suffering the most. To find out more about Child’s Dream and their projects, visit: www.childsdream.org

bikeaboutlogo The Adventure: Bikeabout

Liz Wilton and Chris Leakey are a British cycle touring couple (Chris and Sarah are brother and sister) who have undertaken the rather adventurous task of cycling from New Zealand back to England.  As part of this, they have chosen to support Child’s Dream and aim to raise £20,000 (approximately Oz: $31,800 / USA: $31,500 / NZ: $41,200).  This would be enough money to build a whole school!
Find out more about Bikeabout here: www.bikeabout.co.uk and why they chose to support this charity here: http://www.bikeabout.co.uk/charity/whychildsdream.shtml

The teacher: Sarah Leakey

Sarah is a primary teacher who was trained and worked in the UK but is currently working in New Zealand. She has a wealth of teaching knowledge and a real passion for education and inspiring children to learn. She is an expert at working with challenging and unmotivated children and currently working on her MA in Education with a focus on formative assessment.  Amongst all this she still manages to find time update her professional blogs and then go skydiving or climbing on the weekend.

Class Blog: http://leakeysblog.edublogs.org
Professional Learning Blog: http://leakeysbubble.edublogs.org
Diigo Educational Links: http://www.diigo.com/user/sarah_leakey


About the project
It is not our aim here to set out how the project will run, that will be determined by the people who choose to be involved and the children we work with.
It might be helpful to know that:

Chris and Liz (Bikeabout) will be able to:

Give skype sessions (depending on location and access to fast enough internet)

Provide tailored resources, video, photos anything you can think of for classes related to your curriculum.

Correspond via email to any question the class, pupil or teacher have.

Child’s Dream have been most helpful in the past providing photos, responding to children’s emails etc. and have just set up their own youtube site with videos that give a better insight to their work, this is limited to one video in English (Laos Field 2) at the moment but I am told more are on the way.  The others (in other languages) still provide useful images and talking points but are better played with the sound off.

Due to the nature of Bikeabout being a cycling project, Sarah was thinking that she might link it with work on cycle safety or encouraging cycling to school for example (although this is up to each individual person).

In terms of the actual event to raise money, we think this would be best left up to the children, they usually come up with the most creative ideas.

To get a bit of an insight into the Bikeabout adventure, read the blog or have a look around the rest of the website.

Join in now – http://connectingchildren.edublogs.org/

Share this with other teachers or educators that might be interested by clicking on the share buttons below.

Comment and show your interest or email and show your interest.

Thanks, we look forward to hearing from you.

Chris, Liz and Sarah

Related Blog Entries

 Subscribe in a reader or enter your email address and get the next post via email

Delivered by FeedBurner

One year since we left the UK to go bikeabout

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

One year ago today we flew to NZ to cycle back home, we are still quite far away and our original 15 month trip looks like it is going to be a little longer.
We have been busy in the Tomato village teaching, helping with the school and have been working on something else too (will announce this later).
So we have decided to stay here for a bit longer, another two weeks we reckon.  Hope to get a few blogs out next week about our time here.
When we finish here its back to Chiang Mai, get visa for China. Cycle to Loas boarder, cycle a little bit in Laos whilst making mental note to come back and do properly one day.  Cycle north for  six(ish) months through China across the Gobi Desert into Mongolia. Then turn left until we hit the Black Sea. Find the Danube River cycle up it, not literally of cause, then a short hope into France over the channel and tadaa home.
That’s the latest plan anyway but travel plan are ‘more like guide lines’ so you will have to keep following to find out what we get up to.
If you have not done so already check out our twitter and facebook pages.

Happy Cycling!

Related Blog Entries

 Subscribe in a reader or enter your email address and get the next post via email

Delivered by FeedBurner

First week at Tomato Village School

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

(Written Monday 9th evening)

So we’ve just completed our first week at the Tomato Village School, time flies, can’t believe it’s been a week already! When we first arrived, albeit after a long journey, we both felt a bit jet lagged and as if we had landed in a new country. It is much cooler up here and you need to wear an extra layer in the evening. The village is situated in the mountainous area, north west of Mae Hong Son, about 2000+ meters up. The windy road up here climbs swiftly and is pretty steep – be great fun to cycle down, not so sure about the journey back up!

Benjamin

Benjamin

We are living with Benjamin and his family, and the two school classrooms are built on his land, along with the volunteers accommodation. We are on a hillside, so the bigger classroom is at the top, our hut in the middle, along side Ben’s house and then the smaller classroom is at the bottom. There is a path that runs up, but it is quite muddy and slippery. I managed to slip quite badly a few days ago, despite stepping carefully like a granny.

Benjamin runs the school with is son in law Ten, who is the assistant teacher. Benjamin is originally from Burma but left the country many years ago when ‘things got too bad’.

He has many stories to tell us about Burma and we are close to the largest refugee camp where more than 25,000 Burmese refugees live (there are 5 large camps a long the border with Thailand).

We will hopefully be able to share some of these stories with you and maybe even arrange a visit to the camp, although we need to speak with the UN first.

Our accommodation is comfortable, we have our own room/building with a bed and mattress, bedding and a mosquito net. There is electricity and we have a power socket in our room. There is also a good mobile phone (and therefore internet) signal, apart from when it is raining! There is a toilet across the path and we can use the shower in the family bathroom or have a bucket wash…big trough of water with scoop, you pour water over yourselves and wash. The water is pretty cold! We have blankets on our bed as it’s cold at night. Despite the cool temperature there are still plenty of mosquitoes up here, as well as moths, spiders, little beetles, cockroaches and various other visitors. We are both enjoying the cooler climate though – it’s a nice change after many many months of heat.

Our roomBenjamin is also providing all of our meals, cooking for us at lunch and dinner time. The food has been great and it’s interesting to see what people eat on an every day basis, even is if ours is a less spicy version! Rice features heavily of course, but we have had curry, sweet and sour stir-fry with pork and fresh pineapple, spicy pork meatballs, soups, fish, sweet honey sausage, bananas, jackfruit, pineapple, sticky rice, cakes biscuits, plus copious amount of sweet black tea and fresh coffee! So we are being looked after very well and Benjamin is a great host who takes a lot of care to make sure we are happy.

Chris and Ben ‘drive the train’ together (smoking cigars from Burma) over coffee and interesting chats.

The English lesson take place in the evening 6-8pm. The children go to school during the day and then come up to Ben’s place in the evening. Many arrive early, well before 6pm to play and eat snacks, greeting us with ‘Good evening teacher!’.

Class B

The youngest children are about 6 years old and the eldest 15 years old. There are 60 students, split into 3 classes, A, B and C. Early on Chris opted to teach Class A – advanced, which suited me fine as I prefer working with younger kids, so I take B class (mon, wed, fri) and C class (tues and thurs). After a couple of evening teaching with Benjamin and Ten, we began to teach on our own. Ben could se early on that Chris is a natural teacher, with plenty of patience, oodles of enthusiasm and good crowd control.

I chose to draw on my creative skills, making flash cards and wall charts, bringing out my colouring pencils and coloured chalk to brighten things up  a little. Ten was pleased with my first lesson and said that i seemed to know what i wad doing, had a good plan and it was if i had come form teacher training college! Delighted with such positive feedback I was happy to teach alone.

My classroom is quite small and i have limited room to manoeuvre – 4 desks, 4 benches, 22 kids and a blackboard. The electricity is good and we have lighting, however the electric cuts off occasionally  and we have car batteries for back up, and candles. So far it has cut out twice but only for a short period. The kids always cheer loudly when it comes back on.

Top Classroom at break time

Top Classroom at break time

Chris teaches in the top classroom up the hill, which is more spacious. He teaches Class A – 22 kids, older and more advanced.Many of the kids have to travel form their high schools, which are further away, so they often don’t arrive until after 6pm. It’s a long old day for them and they come every night to learn English!

The kids are great, very friendly, keen to learn, well behaved and polite with a good attitude. They seem pleased to have us here. Overall we are impressed with the level of English being taught here, considering the remote location and resources.

After our first couple of evenings teaching, we were both on a high, buzzing with the energy and fun of teaching. We sit with Ben and Ten and have tea or coffee, chatting until it’s time for bed.  The rain arrives in the evening and we snuggle under our blankets, both happy to be here, feeling settled in our peaceful surroundings. We both sleep well.

Related Blog Entries

 Subscribe in a reader or enter your email address and get the next post via email

Delivered by FeedBurner