Picture this –
- a class of students in a slum/ghetto of Kenya – the largest slum in Africa by both size and population See Boomtown Slum: A Day in the Economic Life of Africa’s Biggest Shanty Town
- students who are orphaned and many of whom have lost their parents to AIDS.
- visible holes in the decaying walls
- no power in the classroom
- no visible seats or chairs for the students to sit on
- no sign of books and resources
- volunteer teachers who care passionately about and for these students
Despite all this:
- the teacher is amazingly innovative, creative, connected and active with the use of his laptop and mobile wifi
- uses skype to connect his students to others across the world
- the children are confident and seem happy, singing with gusto and rhythm
- the children are given opportunities to learn at the Cheery School – “a place for nurturing students for their better lives”.
Technology makes these connections that were previously impossible, possible. Children from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya can learn from others around the world in real time, when they cannot afford books, education or even food etc!This week is multicultural week in Victoria, Australia and Friday 21st is National Harmony Day, which makes even more precious the story that now unfolds.
Last night it was my great privilege to connect with this class of young children aged 5-7 from The Cheery School, Kibera slums, Nairobi, Kenya. Their passionate and caring teacher, Livingstone organised them to individually ask questions of me. They were confident, well mannered and at times shared objects with me to show their culture and the wild animals of Africa. In fact, I thought they had a real snake to show but it was a toy! To complete the connection, the students sang a wonderful song to me in an enthusiastic and joyful manner, showing rhythm and unity.
How can we help classes such as these? Will technology provide the ability to learn with and from the world, help them break out of their cycle of poverty? The impossible, may just become possible!
Below are some videos that share more about the Cheery School:-