This past weekend, I spent time with the women of Sarilaya, a women's organization whose cause is centered on female empowerment and healthy living. They support women who earn livelihood in the rural areas, and the women and families they support grow organic foods. They have children’s centers in these rural areas to help the men and women who are out working all day. I had the opportunity of training the incredible mothers and teachers on the LitClubs curriculum, and they are preparing to launch 9 new LitClubs at the start of the new year!
Armie and Riza, above, demonstrate and practice the art of the read-aloud
What I loved about this experience the most was the opportunity to hear the stories of Filipina women. I learned so much about their daily struggles, their victories, and their strength. Their lives are centered around being good mothers, providing for their children, and caring for the children in the centers. It was beautiful to laugh with them, to listen in to their stories of resilience, and to witness their determination to create better futures.
Michelle shows off her heart map
Pam Allyn, our Executive Director, helped me put together the agenda for the LitClubs training, and we made sure that the training would be inspiring and igniting. We wanted the women to feel the essence and spirit of our LitClubs, and sure enough, the women smiled brightly as we went through each exercise, as this training became a space for them to get re-inspired and refueled as they continued their work of caring for the young ones.
Below: The Seven Strengths Translated in Tagalog
Sharing our stories together was a priceless experience. The best part about it all was the fact that we all learned something valuable from each other. I was glad I had the opportunity to create an empowering, uplifting space for us all.
When the training ended, the women took off to their next destination in their Jeepney, a common mode of transportation in our country. (They love taking photos, can you tell?) :)
-Written by LitCorps Ambassador in the Philippines, Ruby Veridiano
Shannon Bishop, LitWorld Ambassador in South Africa
I was compelled to apply for funding, and applied to the Davis Project for Peace, through the graduate residence I stay in, International House, New York. I was awarded a $10 000 grant by the Davis Project for Peace to implement teacher training using technology in South Africa, and incorporated LitWorld as a partner into the project. I completed the project over three and a half weeks in Athlone in the Western Cape.
The incentive for the project stems from an article I read in the New York Times in September, 2009. The article discussed the situation in some South African schools today regarding lack of motivation in teachers, especially using technology in the classroom. The article was based on a school identified by the Khanya Project as being desperately in need of motivation and support to instill a culture of learning, especially through technology.
I proposed a Teacher Training initiative that uses teacher's personal narratives as a motivational tool to write personal stories using computers, to allow teachers to access and use technology in the classroom. The Teacher training project involves getting teachers fully motivated and on board by developing and implementing a technology curriculum for teachers that integrates literacy skills and social networking, and by giving teachers an incentive -to create their own digital story using technology.
I approached the NGO, LitWorld, based in New York, and the Founder and Executive Director, Pam Allyn, a Teachers College Alumnus, generously agreed to pilot a curriculum that integrates the digital resources that are quickly becoming the primary mode for literacy development and (LitWorld’s) core philosophy of transformational literacy in a way that would significantly impact teachers and students in South Africa. LitWorld generously supplied a suitcase full of books for children which will became the parting gift to Bridgeville Primary School to be added to their library for every learner (and teacher) to access. What makes these specific books beneficial is that all these books are being read and integrated into the literacy-using-technology teacher workshop.