Having volunteered with us prior to being offered a position, Sheriece knows all there is to know about our Teaching and Community Support Program and gives us an awesome breakdown here of what your life as an education volunteer in Zanzibar could be like:
Nursery School Education
The African Impact team of volunteers teach at 4 local village nursery schools; Ibrahim, Mwendawima, Sirajatil and Kikadini. The nursery school children are between the ages of 4–7 years and the classes vary in size from 10-30 children.
We teach the children through interactive lessons filled with colourful flashcards, word drilling, songs, games, motor skills, and recognition and reward activities. With each week revolving around one topic, the topics range from the basics such as numbers and the alphabet, to animals and mathematic equations as the year progresses to implement a 31 week curriculum.
It is with these tools, a structured lesson plan and a weekly topic, the volunteers help educate the children and help development their English language. This enables htem to successfully move forward into their primary and secondary education within Zanzibar or Tanzania, as primary and secondary school are only taught in English. Without support such as this, many children are entering school with no understanding of English and are expected to learn topics in a language that they do not speak.
During morning recess we assist the teachers to make porridge for the students, which is funded by African Impact’s charity The African Impact Foundation. This was established as they noticed many of the children coming to school without having breakfast, or food for lunch, and a child cannot be expected to learn while they are hungry.
While some of the volunteers are helping to hand out the porridge, another volunteer will sit on a canvas mat on the ground with the nursery teachers and have an informal lesson for them to improve their own English skills; a sustainable way of empowering teachers to better teach the children in their care.
Dental hygiene is also non-existent among the local villages and children by the age of 4 already have rotting teach. In the one school that has running water, we supply each child with their own toothbrush and toothpaste each day so that they can clean their teeth and wash their hands.
We teach English, and other foreign languages when possible, to adult students at 2 different schools, Kidenga and Kizimkazi, each of which has around 5 – 30 students who are aged between 13 – 50 years old.
These students can live locally, or even travel from as far as the mainland just to benefit from our free English classes. These classes are open to students of all levels of abilities, thus requiring all styles of teaching techniques:
- Our Group 1 (or Group Low) is for beginners. These are students who need to be taught the basic foundations of grammar, to enable them to enhance their limited writing, reading and speaking skills.
- In the middle sit out Group 2 and 3 students.
- Our Group 4 (or Group High) students are taught advanced grammar, creative writing skills, reading summarisation, comprehension, and debating techniques
- There is also a literacy class and remedial english class that is graded below Group 1, held mainly for the Maasai tribe and those who need extra attention.
The reason we teach English to adults is because the tourism industry has the highest paying and readily available jobs in Zanzibar, but to obtain these, employees need to be able to speak English.
The Kanga Ladies
The Kanga Ladies are a group of about 12 local ladies who live in the village of Jambiani, headed by Mama Ramla, who is a tailor by trade.
The name Kanga Ladies is taken from kitenga, which is a traditional material worn by women in Zanzibar in various ways, and used for their handmade range of homewares, clothes and accessories.
Mama Ramla started this women’s group in conjunction with African Impact to generate income for the ladies and their families, as an opportunity to further their education and overall as a way to empower women to be more self sufficient. Our volunteers help generate income by sewing with the ladies, purchasing their products and giving them English lessons to help improve their business skill set to increase their own sales with tourists.
Our Garden at the Jambiani Education Community Centre is also a source of income for the ladies. We supply them with the land, crops, and man power, while they attend to the garden on a daily basis; watering, weeding, etc. They harvest the crops firstly for themselves, secondly to sell to our chefs at the African Impact living quarters and then sell the surplus to locals for a 100% profit.
The Jambiani Education Community Center
Our newly constructed education centre is currently used as a garden for the Kanga Ladies, and in the future will be used as our privately-owned school for teaching adult classes. As we currently teach at government schools we cannot give graduated students a nationally recognized certificate for their English speaking skills to go on to gain jobs, which is a shame as both efforts from African impact and the students is not as rewarding and useful as it could be. We not only hope to teach English in this new education centre, but also host workshops and computer lessons to further enhance people’s skill sets.
If you’re interested in joining us in Zanzibar, as you can see what always have plenty of work to do!