Link Ethiopia’s volunteering scheme is becoming more and more popular and is catering for a much wider range of ages and talents these days. And 2010 has started in a particularly promising way with eight volunteers teaching and helping out in Ethiopia concurrently during part of February. Here are three typical volunteer stories from recent months.
Susan Kent is a very experienced teacher from the UK who had already had the opportunity to visit Ethiopia on a number of occasions before embarking on an extended period of voluntary work out in that country. She decided to focus her attentions on the central and south of Ethiopia, and has given her energy and enthusiasm in looking at the schools around Debre Zeit, Nazareth and Asella. We have welcomed her experience in assisting the work of our southern office and looking generally at the running of the relatively new school links in those areas. She has also been teaching students in various situations and mingling with the teachers in the schools where she finds herself. “Each time I visit a school I am touched by how dedicated the teachers are to trying to improve their own expertise in order to support their students. I am also so impressed by how much the students want to learn”, she commented. Susan’s energy and commitment has had a real effect on the people she has met, whether teachers or students, and she herself has gained rare experience in working alongside people who have had relatively little contact with other countries and cultures.
Nick Hunt is a successful young professional journalist and writer who very much wanted to share his skills with young people from a totally different cultural background. He got in touch with us here at Link Ethiopia and subsequently spent several months out there, teaching small groups of keen youngsters to use the English language in a creative and purposeful way. He was very much welcomed by students who had had little opportunity to meet and talk with someone of his capabilities, and his company and assistance was much sought after. His students decided to write a magazine and get it printed as their major project during his time with them and he was able to advise and guide them throughout the process. About his students Nick commented “they were respectful, friendly, intelligent and very keen to learn – the best students I’ve met in any country. I really was impressed by their enthusiasm and dedication, and enjoyed the experience of teaching them very much. I was very sad to say goodbye to such intelligent and friendly groups of kids”. Nick loved his time out in Ethiopia and is already talking about returning to a place where he was made to feel so welcome and valued.
Recently returned from Ethiopia is Alex Floyd, an adventurous young lady who went out to the north of the country with little past experience of teaching or working with young people in a learning environment. Coincidentally Link Ethiopia had a small film crew out in Ethiopia while she was there and pointed their cameras at her teaching activities. She impressed us all with her focus and rapport with the students (a photo of one of her classes, left). There was no doubting her capability as she took small groups of young people through a variety of activities to help with their English Communication Skills, encouraging each of them to speak out with clear voice and improving accent. When the students were interviewed on camera after their lessons, they were clearly excited by their contact with such an energetic and enthusiastic young teacher, and were in no doubt about the benefits they were receiving from their contact with her. Asked about Fasiledes school where she was teaching, Alex said “the school has been great and all of the teachers, without exception, have been very friendly, helpful and welcoming. They threw a party for me on the last day! The school Director is brilliant – very dynamic and very enthusiastic and encouraging about having volunteer teachers in the school”.
How you can volunteer in Ethiopia
Link Ethiopia runs its volunteering scheme for all age groups and for all manner of people. Teaching experience is an asset, of course, but is absolutely not a necessity for joining our scheme. Placements may focus on the teaching of basic English, or helping with sports coaching, or training pupils and staff on computer use. Volunteers are encouraged to share whatever skills they may already have in working towards improved English speaking and communication with all the young students in their classes. Each volunteer receives a detailed and thorough briefing before departure and is given access to a wide range of teaching tools and materials.
Our experienced and superbly friendly staff are always on hand in Ethiopia to guide and encourage, while any problems can be quickly resolved by the same means. At least once a week, volunteers are encouraged to try their hand in a different volunteering situation – helping particularly poor families, assisting at a school for blind children, giving assistance to the Link Ethiopia staff themselves, or going out on ‘field trips’ with our team. We pride ourselves on trying to fit the placements around the detailed and varied wishes of each volunteer. And in taking up one of these placements – for a few weeks or perhaps a few months – every volunteer is donating a substantial sum of money to support the work that Link Ethiopia is doing in schools throughout the area – building water pumps, decent toilet facilities, classrooms, libraries, etc.
Find out the costs involved and register your interest here!