Guest Blog: Lessons

We were not the only teachers. The children taught us things that no professor could ever teach in a classroom–lessons that we will forever hold in our hearts.

As future teachers, helping children learn and succeed is one of our many passions. Arriving at the orphanage in Mtendere Village we were unsure of just how this passion would be sparked, but it quickly lit on fire and burned the whole time we were there. Some of us had spent minimal time working with children, especially directly in a classroom. This experience level quickly changed as we were divided up into different classrooms our second day at Mtendere. There were some students teaching the housemothers of the village, others in preschool age classrooms, and then others in primary or secondary aged classrooms. Every classrooms proposed challenges and situations to apply different teaching methods we had been taught all the way back at Ball State University.

Some students even had the experience of working one on one with the children at Mtendere, in an hour and half tutoring session everyday. These tutoring sessions allowed us to work on a more personal level with the children and help them individually in the area of reading. The sessions consisted of learning the level of reading our student could achieve, and work on areas such as comprehension that proved to be more difficult. The sessions not only consisted of helping the children with reading, but it also proposed opportunities to get to know and create relationships with our students.

Our time in Mtendere was spent mostly with the children; we acted as teachers to them whether it was in the classroom or playing games. We were not the only teachers. The children taught us things that no professor could ever teach in a classroom–lessons that we will forever hold in our hearts.

Bethany Thompson is an Elementary Education student at Ball State University.

Guest Blog: We Stand for Children

Teacher Training

We all realized that we could learn from each other, and we were all there for the very same reason: we all stand for children.

During our time in Malawi, we were given the amazing opportunity to teach fellow teachers in a professional development day our group organized. We extended the invitation to join us on this day to teachers all over the area around Mtendere Children’s Village. The day of the event, 32 teachers joined us, anxious to learn from us. They were so anxious and eager to learn, in fact, that some walked from up to eight miles away just to be there.

Being a group of students much younger and less experienced than most of our participants was a challenge we had to confront, as some teachers there had over 30 years of experience. However, once the day began, we all realized that we could learn from each other, and we were all there for the very same reason: we all stand for children. Our group of Ball State students and the Malawian teachers, despite our age differences and varying experiences, were united on this day, and we collaborated to learn how to better serve the children of the world.

Prior to coming to Malawi, while we were planning for the professional development day, we were told that the teachers were interested in learning about teaching theories. With that, we decided to teach Lev Vygotsky’s theory of the Zone of Proximal Development, scaffolding, and differentiation of instruction. The day was broken up into two parts: the first being a direct instruction part and the second being a collaborative group-work portion. During the direct instruction, three girls from our group basically gave the information in front of everyone, while the teachers were given papers with which to take notes. For the group-work portion of the day, we all broke into small groups with two girls from our group, and around four or five Malawian teachers. Here, we further discussed the topics at hand, and collaborated to come up with ways the theories could be put into action in our classrooms.

It proved a struggle for many of the teacher’s to envision these theories in their classrooms because in their classrooms, they may have up to 200 students for just one teacher. Despite the differences in classroom environments and cultures, the Malawian teachers were incredibly open to new ideas, and were eager to share their own knowledge with all of us. In the end, we asked everyone, Malawian teachers and Ball State students alike, to share a bit about what they liked or learned during our time together. It became clear that we all learned a great deal from one another, and would definitely be taking new insights back with us into our classrooms and lives.

Lauren Rayborn is an Elementary Education student at Ball State University.

Creating Spaces in Nagpur

31 Million.  According to UNICEF, this number represents the number of orphaned children living in India—21% of the estimated 147 million orphans worldwide. We have provided housing for hundreds of children in Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Nagpur through our partnership with Reaching Indians Ministries International (RIMI), but these statistics support our belief that much more needs to be done.

While we are saddened that circumstances deem it necessary, we are excited for the opportunity to expand our orphan care program in Nagpur, India, and welcome more children into our family there.  Under the leadership of Reverend Saji Lukos, RIMI and 100X support and educate more than 100 orphans and vulnerable children in Nagpur; however, we want to reach more.  So, we are expanding!  We have recently begun construction on a second floor addition that will provide additional room for staff and children.  We never want to be in the position that we cannot accept one more.

Read more about our partnership with RIMI, and join us in our work to reach the orphans of India.

 

Human Trafficking…Children at Risk

In Moldova, orphans age out of the system at 16.  With nowhere to turn, they often end up living on the streets.  The perfect victim for a greedy trafficker. Offering a “solution” to their circumstance, traffickers recruit these young women (and men) to work in an entry level job, often in a different country. For many, this is the most exciting thing that has happened to them. As orphans, they have no one to ask for advice, no one to warn them of the dangers. They happily accept the position and begin their journey. Unfortunately, this journey is not the hopeful new beginning that they had imagined. Instead many are forced into prostitution, required to service as many as 40 men a day. Others are forced to work in construction or on farms with little to no compensation. They are beaten and enslaved.

According to the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, issued by the U.S. Department of State, Moldova is primarily a “source” country for human trafficking.

Moldavian women are subjected to forced prostitution in Turkey, Russia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, the UAE, Kosovo, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Italy, Greece, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Romania. Men, women, and children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, UAE, Israel, and Greece in the construction, agriculture, and service sectors.

This report corroborates what we already know–that orphans are a population “highly vulnerable to human trafficking.” To protect them, prevention must be a top priority.  In collaboration with Stella’s Voice, we are working to protect these young men and women by providing a safe place for them to go when they are required to leave the orphanage.  We not only provide shelter, but education and a sense of community.  For the abandoned and abused, it is a place to remind them that they have a hope and a future.  Join us.

International Confederation of Midwives-Triennial Congress

Dana Blanchard, 100X Director of Operations for Malawi, attended the 29th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives in Durban South Africa on June 19-23.  She joined more than 3,000 midwives and leaders in maternal health from over 100 countries to advocate for the role of midwives in reducing maternal and newborn mortality.  The Congress provided an excellent platform for conference participants to share best practices and ideas for tackling this important issue.

The Congress also served as the official release of the State of the World’s Midwifery report issued by UNFPA.  The report delineates gaps in maternal healthcare and the shortage of midwives across the globe.  The country profile for Malawi reveals that:

  • There are 3,000 maternal deaths each year
  • The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 36
  • There are 278 birth complications each day
  • There are 4 midwives for every 1,000 live births

With increased access to healthcare, these deaths are preventable. Dana and the 100X team are working with our partners at the Auburn University Schools of Nursing to establish a training program for midwives and community healthcare workers.  More about this program is available on our website.

100X Development presenting at the United Nations

The 100X Development Foundation will present at the InfoPoverty World Conference this week at the United Nations.  Co-Founder, Lindy Blanchard will discuss ways that 100X is helping to leverage maternal health and orphans and vulnerable children’s issues in Malawi with technology informed approaches.  100X Initiatives include an innovative maternal health approach that both educates and connects villages in Malawi with maternal health information and tools as well as ongoing efforts to strengthen and nourish children in Malawi that are orphans.  Nearly 1 million orphans have been left in this African nation by poverty and HIV/AIDS and more than 800 women per 100,000 will die in child birth.

100X Meets with First Lady Callista Mutharika of Malawi

On Wednesday, December 8, the 100X team met with Her Excellency the First Lady of Malawi to discuss our current projects in Malawi and to collaborate on a maternal health program.  Mrs. Mutharika is a strong advocate for maternal health programming in Malawi, and 100X is looking forward to working with her on this important project.

Right now, 1 in 18 women in Malawi will die during their lifetime due to complications and lack of medical care during pregnancy and delivery. For every 100,000 births that occur in Malawi this year, more than 800 mothers will die during delivery or shortly after because of complications.  These deaths are preventable.

100X is working with Mrs. Mutharika and others to develop a program that will provide training and nutrition to pregnant mothers, and then strengthen the capacity of midwives and community healthcare workers to respond to the needs of mothers in areas where obstetric care is systematically lacking.