Hope One World first carried out workshops in Nigeria in the summer of 1995, at Our Lady’s Notre Dame School in Ilorin under the leadership of Sr. Helena Boland. In 2001 when Sister Helena moved to Enugu, the workshops moved also. The fundamental aim of the Nigeria project is to improve the quality of teaching and learning at the Notre Dame schools, through the provision of in-service workshops for teachers and activities for children.
Nigeria, in West Africa, has a population of around 150 million, consisting of many different tribes and religions. It has had a turbulent past in recent years under corrupt military dictatorships. English is widely spoken and is the national language and the language of instruction in schools. Nigeria is rich with vast oil and gas reserves but corruption means that there are very rich people and many very poor people. The bulk of the population still live in rural villages but Nigeria has many large cities and a history of urban culture that predates the colonial period. There is a growing AIDS problem in the country but little is said about it in the media.
Education levels are high and teaching is very formal. Many teachers are poorly qualified as teaching does not pay well and teachers will often have more than one job. Staff turnover, whilst less than in other schools, can be high. The Sisters of Notre Dame are responsible for the running of their own schools. They have raised funds for the building of new schools and for the expansion of existing schools. This work is largely sponsored by the generosity of people in UK. Education is not free as the Notre Dame schools are privately run. Other private schools also thrive as parents see education as the key to a successful career for their children.
Tutors and students on a Hope One World project are accommodated in convent buildings within the school compound. Tutors will be occupied mainly in running workshops for teachers whilst the students will teach in the school. Suitable topics for workshops will attempt to meet local needs and priorities, and the workshops offered will reflect the strengths of the tutors and the individual students selected. Although the school is mainly nursery/primary with a new secondary class in 2008, 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.