Archive for June, 2012

June 28, 2012

Update from Olasiti

In our last field update we reported that our first batch of locally-produced desks and chairs had been completed and delivered to Olasiti Secondary School.  These desks allowed students to have their own space to learn and do schoolwork and meant that they no longer have to sit on old paint buckets and bricks in class.  However that first batch of desks and chairs was only the beginning.

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We are happy to announce that our second batch of desks has been completed.  The 100 desks produced in the village have been brought to the school and now provide two additional classrooms with seating and workspace.

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At the cost of $44 each desk allows a child to have their own space to complete their work and develop as a student. Thank you to everyone who has supported this project and Achieve in Africa.  Please consider donating or connecting with AIA to help us furnish the rest of the five existing classrooms and the additional classrooms that we plan to build in the future. 

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– Haley Aubuchon

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June 22, 2012

The Importance of Education Across the Globe

Here are some of AIA team member Katrina’s reflections on the importance of education all over the world.
I was recently asked to sign a petition to increase the number of charter schools in the United States.  This reminded me of some documentaries I have seen about the NYC charter schools system. These documentaries follow underprivileged families who are counting on education “lotteries” to pull their children from a future of poverty and violence. However, due to high demand and limited open seats, many are turned down and forced to attended their designated public school. As expected, the prosperous schools exist in the affluent neighborhoods, and their poor counterparts must face high dropout rates, strained resources, and crumbling facilities.
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Good education is a resource that every child-in all countries and from all demographics-should have access to. And it’s sad that even in America, in one of the most successful countries in the world, that a family should have to fight for or roll the dice on a quality education.
– Katrina Schweithelm
What are your thoughts on access to education in America? Leave a comment below!
June 18, 2012

Why Africa?

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am very interested in and involved with issues and initiatives in Africa.  I have participated in a number of other projects and organizations that have fueled my passion for and informed me about Africa and this background is what led me to want to work with AIA.  Here are three reasons why I became and continue be passionate about Africa and its people.

 1. Because we are neighbors.

One question that I hear over and over again asks why I am interested in Africa when there is plenty of volunteer and activism work to be done closer to where I live.  My honest answer is that I don’t think of it that way.  Kindness, respect, and interest in each other does not stop at borderlines or continents.  Speaking up for, listening to, working with and helping others can and should cross oceans and transcend boundaries.

2. The people.

The people that I have worked with on African issues, like the AIA staff, students at my university, and the Africans that I have connected with along the way have been talented and inspiring.  Their spirit has always galvanized me to continue learning about Africa and to become more and more involved.

 3. The amazing things already happening

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One of the amazing things happening in Tanzania: students learning in an Olasiti Primary School classroom built by AIA

Although Africa struggles (as all continents struggle) with issues like poverty, AIDS, and conflict there are many accomplishments and triumphs happening there every day that the Western world often misses out on hearing about.  Rwanda has the highest level of female representation in its national parliament of any country in the world.  The rivers of the Democratic Republic of Congo are estimated to be able to provide hydro-electric power for the entire continent.  And according to the UN the rate of new HIV infections in 15-49 year old South Africans decreased from 2.35% in 2001 to 1.49% in 2009.

-Haley Aubuchon

If you too are interested in Africa leave a comment or tweet us @achieveinafrica with your reasons why.

June 7, 2012

How Can Preschool Change the World?

When you were four or five-years-old did you attend preschool?  Chances are that you probably did, since according to the World Bank 69% of Americans attended preschool as of 2010.

I attended preschool as a child and most of my memories include waiting impatiently for the school bus, singing songs, and playing with blocks and beads more than actual learning.  It doesn’t seem all that important, but singing the ABCs is what will teach a child to read, circle time and learning to share will show a little boy or girl respect and kindness toward others that will stay with him or her forever.  Learning before primary school is the foundation for all the years of education to come.

Olasiti primary school classroom.

A recent study conducted by the World Bank on a Save the Children preschool program in rural Mozambique agrees.  The results reported stated that children who attended preprimary school were 24% more likely to enroll in primary school and were far better off when they reached primary school.  In addition to having more knowledge, the children in the program were more interested in learning math and writing than those who were not and had more respect for other children. Preschool also had positive effects on students’ families as parents of children in school were more likely to work and their older siblings were also more able to attend school.  The best part? This program that set kids on an excellent path for future learning only cost $2.47 per month per child. The worst part? In Tanzania, where Achieve In Africa is currently working on several education initiatives only 33.2% of children attended preprimary school in 2010 according to the World Bank.

Studies and programs like these show how important and impactful education programs can be.  If preschool is so important then imagine the significance of primary and secondary education.  Primary and secondary school is where many students learn how to read and write, speak other languages, craft arguments, understand calculus, or perform chemistry experiments.

Support preprimary education.   Support education.  Support Achieve in Africa.  See how it changes the world.