November 23, 2015

CESHE

This school was set up and run by Rady Rure. He set up one school to begin with in 2010 and currently has three schools which provide free education to disadvantaged children. Rady has volunteers living in his house, in dorm style rooms. He and his family live at the back while all the volunteers share one large room upstairs or downstairs in the front. It is modest but good accommodation. There is one bathroom consisting of a squat toilet and a well of water to shower. Initially, I was a little taken aback as I wasn’t expecting the bathroom to be like this especially given that in Vietnam, just over the border, we had western style showers. Nonetheless, it added to the adventure. My comfort zone expanded having cold showers every other day. And of course, the highlight of my day was not where I showered but rather teaching the children

Front gate

Front gate

There were several volunteers supporting Rady both with admin and the day to day running of the project. James, from the UK, was working there for several years, supporting Rady and looking after the volunteers. Debra, from the US, was there for several months and worked hard to raise necessary funds for the school. We had no wifi and little electricity so we sat around making bracelets, when we weren’t teaching and then went into town and sold them. These were just two amongst many other volunteers who were supporting Rady and living in the town.

Young ones

Young ones

Most volunteers who came to the project, came to teach. There are three English classes so volunteers are paired up to teach classes of ten to twenty students on average. For those, that were less keen to teach, it was possible to help build a new classroom and later a new school. Unlike Vietnam, there is no local volunteer to help translate material, we relied solely on dictionaries. Also, there were limited books so we made or decided what to teach depending on the students level.

School toilet

School toilet

I initially taught the youngest students in the school with Milou, a Dutch volunteer. I then taught a class higher with Sharan, another British volunteer. We prepared lessons together and whilst one taught, the other ensured the students were listening and had a book and a pen to write with. Students enjoyed lesson time as much as they enjoy their breaks. With large open grounds surrounding the classrooms, most boys love to play football with the volunteers whilst the girls love to skip. Towards the end, I taught older students with Marissa, a American volunteer. I enjoyed teaching this group the most because I was able to ask thought provoking questions and some of the responses really intrigued me.

My teenage class

My teenage class