Introduction of our team:
Eva: 59 years old, Hungarian teacher, graduated in Pedagogy and specialized in early childhood children’s – age between 3 and ten, and had 37 years experience in pre-school, in primary school and in pedagogical institute.
Lili: 19 years old, Hungarian, finished the secondary school and graduated in 2012. She worked with children as an au-pair.
We are living and working inBotswana, in theKalahari desert’s capital, Ghanzi.
This report is sent April 9th 2013.
Our travel from Hornsjo to Ghanzi
After celebrating the finish of our theoretical & practical studies with a “Good-by party” we left Hornsjo and we stayed over the night in the Lillehammer Hostel. Then in the early morning we took the train to Oslo with three big luggage for each of us. From the Gardermoen Airport we took a plane to Heathrow. There we had to wait eight hours for the connection flight. We enjoyed watching the different kind of people, visiting the shops and studying the life of the biggest European airport.
At 9 p.m. we took a big plane from Heathrow to Johannesburg. The plane flew during the night, and we were lucky, because we could sleep all night. We arrived at 9.30 am to the modern international Airport of Johannesburg. There was a man waiting for us, who picked us up.
Next day we continued our trip by bus to Gaborone, to the capital of Botswana. It was already dark, when we arrived. However we were happy to see people from HPP, who were waiting for us. They helped carrying the packages, and reserved a room for all of us in Gaborone.
We spent there six days. During this time they helped arranging our visas, they showed us the city and we got some piece of information. Before we left Gaborone they gave us the “food-money” of March. After that we took the bus for almost 750 km to Ghanzi through the Kalahari-desert.
Our experiences about Botswana’s environment, and our accomodation:
We experience every day the fast development of the country. They are building new houses, modern hospitals, schools and community buildings.Botswanahas a well-developed road network.
Generally people are friendly and polite. There is no starving.
We got a house in the Morama district of Ghanzi, which looks like the same as other houses in the town. It has two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom with electricity and running water. The house is located two km-s far from the city-centre.
After our arrival in Ghanzi we bought foods and experienced that the PULA1200 “food-money” per capita in one month is hardly enough, because in Ghanzi there isn’t local market. The people buy meals in the Spar or in the Choppies (in other shopping centre).
We try to live healthy: we cook the different kind of foods ourselves and we walk 4-6 km every day.
Our work in the project of Child Aid:
On the first working day – on Friday – we went to the office of HPP. The stuff was very friendly, polite and kind. The first program that they wanted us to be invited was an HIV/AIDS action for youth held on the next day. After that we agreed on of the work for next week. We said that we wanted to know the locations of pre-schools and the primary schools specially focused on the vulnerable kids.
Next week (between 18-22 March) we visited two primary schools and five pre-schools where we observed the kids and their environment. This week we made some research about the education system of Botswana in the Library of Ghanzi and we too had an overview of the situation in the settlement.
Our informations and conclusions:
Botswana’s Government abolished primary school fees in 1987. However partially-payment of school fees were reintroduced starting from January 2006. The consequence is that most of the poor people will be unable to cover these extra costs.
These days the NGO-s help the vulnerable street children’s learning in the primary schools in Ghanzi.
Other problem: in Botswana there is lack of the pre-school education.
There are two public and five private pre-schools in the city. Less than 30% of 2-6 aged kids attend the pre-school. More than 70% of children don’t participate in the development of skills before they start the primary school. They go into the primary schools without development of skills and motivations. The pre-schools are facilitated in small houses, and there are not a lot of toys. The preschool-teachers organize for the children compulsory programs: physician education, dancing, singing and telling stories. The children learn writing, reading and counting one time per week. The free play-time for them is too short.
After our visits in the primary- and pre-schools we realized that we have to help in the pre-schools. We have set up a three month plan which will be too huge to put on the blog here (it is in form of a schedule for when we will do what, but we can mention some of the activities):
* Organize play sessions with children in preschools where they learn and play
* Produce some educational materials for the preschools
* Organize the cleaning campaigns with preschool students and teachers
* Train the Pre-school teachers
* Organize Child Aid Olympic Games where the Pre-schools are involved.
* Arrange an Open day in the Pre-schools
* Make an action to mobilize parents to send their children to Pre-school.
Next thing we did was to chose the tree pre-schools we would work with:
- The Morama Pre-school, because in this place there are a lot of children (between 2 and half and 7 aged).
- The Fundation Pre-school, because we noticed that, here is the least the free play-time for the children.
- The Baby Care Pre-School, because there are the youngest kids with only one teacher.
In the following weeks we worked in the field. We prepared materials for the development of children’s manual skills. After that we visited the Pre-schools and worked with children. The kids painted with different colours, drew eggs, chickens and hens before Eastern.
In the Baby Care we talked to some parents about development of move and cognitive skills of the kids. In this place we made colourful decorations in the children’s bedroom.
Conclusion and Opinion about March:
The pre-school-teachers appreciate our work and the children like our games. They began to know us, and they are greeting us when we meet with them on the street.
So far our impression is, that we made a good job; and we believe that our work will be useful and beneficial for the Pre-school’s development as well.
We have a good work-relationship with the staff of Child Aid Ghanzi.
That is all for now