Hope One World first carried out workshops in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, in the summer of 1998. The projects take place in the SOS Children’s Village school which is organised and run by SOS Kinderdorf International, the world’s leading support organisation for orphaned and destitute children. The fundamental aim of the projects has always been to improve the quality of teaching and learning at SOS Children’s Village schools, by providing a programme of training for teachers and activities for children.
Malawi, in south-east Africa, has a population of around ten million, consisting mainly of Bantu people and almost one million refugees who fled from neighbouring Mozambique in 1992. Chichewa, one of the Bantu languages, is the national language, but English is Malawi’s other official language and is the principal language of instruction in schools. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries, its economy being based on agriculture, particularly export crops such as tobacco, tea and sugar-cane. Almost ninety percent of the population live in rural villages and around half are illiterate. Infant mortality is 20%, and average life expectancy is low. There is a growing AIDS problem in the country, and one of the consequences of this is that increasing numbers of children are being orphaned.
SOS Children’s Village Lilongwe opened in 1994 on a sixteen hectare site on the outskirts of the city. There are twelve houses which are home to over 140 children. Unlike the townships nearby, the village has running water and electricity. There is a kindergarten, a primary and a secondary school. Over six hundred pupils attend the schools, the majority of whom come from the local community. There is also a village clinic and a rehabilitation centre. The latter treats children from a wide surrounding area who come with a variety of physical disabilities.
Tutors and students on a Hope One World project will live together in the village, probably in the self-catering visitors’ houses. Whereas tutors will be occupied mainly in running workshops for teachers, students may help children in the village with extra-curricular activities, and/or take on a teaching role in school. The nature of this work will depend on the strengths of individual students, and on any requests made by village and school leaders, and obviously efforts will be made to match these. However, students should be aware that they may be asked to work with any age group and with any aspect of the syllabus. It is likely that students will be called upon to support children’s spoken and/or written English in some way.
Hope One World is seeking well balanced, committed students who are able to work within a supportive and open-minded team. It is not necessary for students to have teaching experience. The capacity to rise to challenges and to deal with the unexpected will be needed! The successful student, prepared to offer enthusiasm, stamina and flexibility, will gain the opportunity to share in the lives of children and teachers in a unique and unforgettable way.