Volunteer in Africa with
Sem Fronteiras Charity Org.

A teacher would march their class 30-50 in size to the cafe

My volunteering experience was in Kumasi, Ghana (St. George’s International School), teaching kids of ages 9-14 about the Internet. I’m a qualified web designer (not a requirement), but had no previous teaching experience. Elghana supplied me with a course outline and armed with “Rough Guide to the Internet” I designed my own lessons trying to cover as much of the outline as possible. I don’t think there is any training that can prepare you for teaching (in Ghana), you just have to be flexible and a little inventive. I was supposed to teach about using the Internet but the school had no Internet connection! so I tried to cover as much as possible in theory and then with Elghana’s funding we arranged for each class to have one visit to a nearby Internet cafe. The week of the Internet cafe visit I would wait there and then each teacher would march their class 30-50 in size to the cafe – about half an hour away. The cafe had 13 computers 9 working on a good day. On the first day there was a power cut, so for each of the 4 classes that turned up I had to improvise by drawing what I wanted to show them about the Internet! The next day the power was up but the link to the service provider kept dropping. Fortunately the rest of the week we were ok sort of and I set about the modest aim of getting everyone to open an email account and to send me an email. Back at the school there was always a shortage of pens to write on the white board, so I wrote the questions once at the beginning of the week and then the rest of the week just filled in/wiped off the answers for each class. Power cuts are regular in Ghana, about every 4-5 days, which means no computers, lights or fan for several hours. Elghana arranged for the computer teacher to be at hand during my classes and I very much relied on him to keep the discipline. This is the reality in Ghana there are lots of obstacles, but PLEASE trust that you can face and even overcome some of them, no matter how helpless or frustrated you might feel at the time. You don’t need any special skills, just a willingness to accept what is – lack of resources, money, support etc. – and respond to it creatively, with Elghana’s help of course.

Posted on June 21st, 2012