Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Working with the community

Community. Society. People. We are created by the environment that nurtures us; shaped by our elders; and grow by choice. There is a quote that I came across a few months back that goes along the lines of ‘without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community’. I do often find quotes quite inspirational, more so when I can see it happening in real life.

In Britain’s culture the society is strong, but structured in a different way to Burkina Faso. From the building blocks of families, to the way the public is. In my host home we have four generations under one roof, each member is healthy and fit to complete their own chores, sustain income and ensure that we as the volunteers are well fed. When I cycle around the village, I love the way that the men huddle under the shelters always in groups, passing their time with conversation, that it requires nothing but their presence, their voice and a seat.

Volunteers cleaning the multimedia media centre and fixing computers, ready for free IT lessons for the community

Bringing it back to our project however, it is very important that for our work to be sustainable we have to work with the community. We are already working with a partner organisation that exists in the village called Association Manegdbzanga, within their office and with their staff. However, we want to educate the general people who live in the village too. Therefore, we offer free IT and English lessons to the public. We currently do 3 hours of English lesson and 3 hours of IT lessons a week.  

Volunteers cleaning the multimedia media centre and fixing computers, ready for free IT lessons for the community
At the beginning when we first started the lessons, not many people would turn up, 3 or 4 max. We found that this wasn’t very sustainable so we made flyers and posters, split up into pairs and put them up around Loumbila. This worked a treat! Now I think the most we have had is 16 people! One of the first things we did here was surveys. We created IT and English surveys to find out the knowledge base in the community. The knowledge of IT here is very basic and sometimes non-existent. So, we started from the very beginning: from turning the computer on, making a folder and basic Microsoft word. The community’s English skills were slightly better, especially students. We started with the alphabet before moving on to verbs, greetings and then simple conversations. The fact that the community are so eager and committed to coming to the lessons we have planned for them is wonderful because this means that they have a better chance of getting a good job and having a healthier life.

Volunteers raising awareness for International day of Innocent Children victims of aggression

By April Gladrey, Giovanni Kologo and Julia Lee

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