Our Principal, Rachel Harper has spent 2 summers with the beautiful children of the township Khayelitsha in South Africa and their wonderful hard working teachers. Volunteering with Mellon Educate has left her inspired and with a new appreciation of all the many advantages we have here in our school.
Khayelitsha is one of the largest and the poorest townships on the outskirts of Cape Town. The children there come from impoverished backgrounds, living in shacks where there can be a shortage of food and there is a very real threat of gang violence and abuse. Their teachers work with minimal resources with classes averaging 48 pupils.
Everyday they do the best for their students as there is a strong belief in the power and opportunity of education to change lives. Here is a summary of her experience:
“We spent our days teaching in classrooms and then leading professional development workshops with the teachers and a group of Principals after school hours. Through peer mentorship and workshops we shared our knowledge and practices that we find beneficial practice here in Ireland.
I led a group of six volunteer teachers for the two week programme and we put in long days to make a meaningful difference. We helped the children and teachers apply their new knowledge and skills, so that they can incorporate them into their daily practice going forward and when possible help make learning fun!
I think my main take-away from this unique project is the immense value of communities working together to provide opportunity and a positive environment for their children. Also how much can be done with limited resources and of course a renewed gratitude for all of our own good fortune.
I am hugely grateful for the help and support of the children and families of St Patricks. I travelled laden down with letters, stickers, games etc. for the children.”
Find out more about Mellon Educate here, watch this video...