Time to read!

By Sahat, Co-Director, IHF Medan

This week, all the students are preparing for their final exam at the center. After six months of classes, there are many things they have to learn and review for the material that they have learned in class. The students frequently shared and discussed among themselves and with their teachers at the center.

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They normally carry out a reading activity during their leisure time after finishing their regular class at school. We have many kinds of English books and storybooks that the students read. They love reading. Reading can help to motivate and help them to build a habit so that they can be good readers in the future. By reading English books, the students can learn many words and it can increase their knowledge about world.

This reading activity should be maintained at the center to encourage them to be more active and critical thinkers. By reading books, they can obtain information that is very useful and expand their knowledge as well. Study groups are also frequently held. This is when students can discuss and share with others about what they have read and gained from the books.

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Money can’t buy happiness

by Marcel, Co-Director, IHF Nakuru

Another week at the center. The Chinese volunteers are gone and new volunteers from Spain have arrived. It is quite cool that you can meet people from around the world while staying in one place, but this is not what I really want to write about. It has been 3 months for me now and it is starting to feel a bit more likDSCN1333e home. I mean all the children, staff, directors, and even local shopkeepers – they are all becoming familiar to me in one way or another. There are about 65 children in the center. At the beginning they were more of a group, clustered by old habits and years of friendship, fenced by language barriers, cultures and age differences. It wasn’t easy to gain their respect and trust. Honestly sometimes they can push you to your limits, especially the teenagers. But it’s worth it. When they accept you not only as an international newcomer, but also part of their community – someone worth talking to and listening to. It feels like an achievement. With the smaller children, it’s an even nicer experience. The love they give is unconditional. You can sit in the dining room with paper and a box of coloured pencils and bam: magic happens. In 15 minutes, you are surrounded by smiles, happy chatting, funny faces and colourful pictures,
“Look at me, look at me.”
“Send it to my sponsor.”

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Money can’t buy happiness. The past 3 months have been funny. I can only stay for 3 more months, unfortunately. I will surely make the most of them.DSCN1327DSCN1348

Donation Boxes,Cards, Bookmarks and Launch Party at IHF Chiang Rai Center

by Xiaowei, Voluntourist, IHF Chiang Rai

This is the first week I spent in IHF Chiang Rai Centre and it must be the most impressive and exciting time I have ever experienced. There are three things that I want to share with you here about the Chiang Rai centre: donation boxes, cards and bookmarks, and the launch party for donation.

Firstly, the donation boxes serve two purposes: one is for the launch party, and the other is for long-term collection of donations in shops to collect donation from people. What makes me impressed is that I felt deeply the strength of cooperation. We four volunteers did the work together and changed our ideas during the procedure to achieve the best scheme. It wthaias extremely surprising that we finished our work in such a short time of about 6 hours. We made three glass donation boxes and three plastic donation boxes. We tried our best to make them look attractive to potential donors.

In addition, we decided to make some cards and bookmarks which can be put near the donation boxes to sell. We all tried to use our minds to make them more attractive. The result is satisfactory to some extent and I’m so happy to see the finished products.

What I want to share at last and is the most impressive is the launch party for donations on Tuesday. Actually, this is my first party since I’ve been here. The party began atthai2 7:00 pm and the guests who are our co-director’s friends arrived in succession. We chatted with each other and ate some snacks for a while. After that, some musicians came at 9:15 and the songs they played were so wonderful that everyone present was enchanted. They left at about 10:30 and after that we talked about promoting the donation party. It was such an unforgettable night!

Apart from these, I have learnt a lot here. Before I came to the centre, I often went to the supermarket directly when I needed something necessary. However, in the centre, because of limitations and lack of the funds, we need to recycle as much as possible. We tried our best to use the waste bottles and cardboard from boxes to make donation boxes, cards and bookmarks.

Besides that, I have also learned to be appreciative. Hope I will do more things for the centre in the coming two weeks!

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Death Customs in Aceh

by Dustin, Co-Director, IHF Banda Aceh

This past week we had the unfortunate opportunity to discover more about death customs in Aceh, as one of our SMP students suffered the sudden loss of his father from a heart attack. As per tradition, he was buried on the same day of his death, and we were unfortunately unable to attend, as we heard the news too late.

The following day we visited the family’s home, along with Anggara, our local volunteer, who was close to the family. He was able to explain to us many subtle aspects we would have missed otherwise. He told us about the red bag marking the turn to his house, which is always hung when there is a death to indicate which house is accepting visitors. He gave us instructions on what words of consolation to say to the family, what to bring for a gift, and how long to stay. We were glad to see how well the family looked one day after their loss, and how much of the community had come to support them. After 44 days, there will be another gathering to celebrate the father’s life, and we look forward to the chance once more to share the evening with the family of one of our beloved students.Aceh 1

In class news, a couple weeks ago I had the fortune of teaching SD 1 a couple of the most important words in the English language – “Please” and “Thank You.” I found a most useful instrument of instruction for this in some pieces of hard candy that a volunteer brought us a few months ago. I demonstrated how the magic words work, saying “please” when presented with the candy, and “thank you” after receiving it. They all found the lesson very rewarding, of course!

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A week later, I was delighted to see that they had remembered their vocabulary, and wished to put it in to practice in their free time. Three of the girls decided to play a game, passing a little red balloon, like the red candy I gave out before. One by one, they turned to the person to their left, who then said “please” and “thank you” before and after being passed the balloon. I was amazed at their enthusiasm, going faster and faster, giggling the whole time. I’m proud of how proficient they’ve quickly become at minding their Ps and Qs.

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Final Exams at IHF Jakarta Center

By Christina, Co-Director, IHF Jakarta

It is the end of the semester in Indonesia. The children have been studying hard all month in preparation for their exams, which began this morning. These two, Bunga and Rio, are from our morning class and you can see them working furiously at their exams. 20150601_09261620150601_100056
I am sure they will both do very well, as will most of our students! It will be a busy week for the children and volunteers alike, but we have the Pass It On Ceremony to look forward to on Sunday, when everyone will be recognized for their hard work!

Home Away from Home

by Patrycja, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

Excited and anxious – that was how I felt before my arrival in Bali. However, after only a few hours spent on the island I realized it would be magical. Two hours away from the airport, we turned down a small dirt road leading to the Bali Center. Hearing the sound of the ocean, I knew I was in the right place. I received an extremely warm welcome from Esther and Mariana – the current directors, as well as from the other lovely volunteers Sarah and Carlos. Their openness and friendliness made me feel so comfortable. From the very first moment, I felt part of the team and extremely at home.

On my second day in Bali, unlike other people who would spend time recovering from jetlag and take it easy, I climbed Mount Agung (the highest point of the island – 3142m). Oh, what a challenge it was. Initially I thought I would never make it to the top but eventually I did. The view from the top compensated for all the pain, scratches and muscles cramps.IMG_0307

On my first day of teaching, I met one little girl who really brightened my day. She brought little yellow flowers and offered them to each teacherwith a beautiful smile on her face. This small gesture proved how open and loving these children are and it made me open my heart even more for them. One day, during the class, I said to the children that it was my niece’s 7th birthday. They all got so excited about it and each of them prepared a Happy Birthday note for her. It was truly moving and it melted my heart.

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Each day brought new happenings. Throughout the week I had the chance to run several classes with children of a different age ranging from 8 to 18. Each class was very different and each child is so unique but there are some common traits that they all share. They are so joyful, playful and…as loud as any other child in any other part of the world.

As each day came to an end, I enjoyed going to the beach (just a few steps away from the Bali Center) to indulge myself in the peacefulness of the twilight and observe how people from the village enjoyed themselves playing and swimming in the sea. Again, the openness and friendliness of the local people made me feel right at home…

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Hello! My name is Vladi!

By Vladimir, Co-Director, IHF Jakarta

Hello all First let me introduce myself… My name is Vladimir and I have been in IHF Jakarta for a few months now, doing and sometimes messing up the tasks of a Co-Director. Overall it has been an honour to see that I have been accepted straightaway by everyone, especially the kids. Yeah, they do test you, but in a very cute and non-malicious way. So far no one has thrown anything at me or stuck a gum on my chair, even though I maybe deserve it sometimes. Teaching is definitely great fun, once you get it right.

A little update: okay, so we have a new volunteer from the UK. Hello Heidi! She’s 19 and very sweet. Heidi is a vegetarian and a big animal lover, which!

Time here runs crazy fast. Almost as fast as a kid on a sugar cane tea, down the stairs, after their last class for the day, thinking that the lady selling  more sweets is waiting outside. Incredible thing to see.

Personally, I am having fun, sweating and getting lost. All you need from life, right?!

I am trying to visit a different place every weekend. So far I was lucky to experience a variety from a heart of monkeys on the side of the road (close to the center of Jakarta) to kites looking over their little masters – some children from the rice fields. I wonder what’s next.

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Canada Day in Aceh!

by Jessica, Work-Study, IHF Banda Aceh

On Saturday, May 9th, we had Canada Day hDSC02245ere at the IHF Aceh center and it was a blast! Usually the kids want a play break after class but not this time – these ambitious and eager children were lining up their chairs row by row to learn about Canada immediately after their class ended.

One of our local volunteers helped translate and off we went…. we started by talking a bit about my hometown, Nanaimo, British Columbia and the fun events we have each year such as bathtub races and silly boat regattas. Then we moved on to delicious foods such as Nanaimo bars and poutine – yum! We finished ofDSC02286f by playing the Canadian national anthem and I was lucky enough to have all the children sing theirs for me as well.
All the children (and the parents too) were so curious and full of questions. And giving the Canadian flag pencils out to everyone was such a nice way to end this awesome day. IHF Canada Day was so much fun; we had an amazing turnout!

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An Spontaneous Experience in Bali!

by Luke, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

Started off as a simple 1 month trip to the beaches in southeast Asia, it turned out to be one of the most spontaneous and valuable experiences in my life.

My friends and I are planning on creating a nonprofit organization in education. And I happened to sit next to a wonderful incoming voluntourist for IHF. After getting tIMG_9829o know the program, I decided that I have to take out some time to visit the center and volunteer for 2 weeks.

Fast forward 1 week after I landed in Bali. After emailing back and forth with the directors, I’m finally extending my flight in order to volunteer at the Bali Center.

Nothing was expected, like life itself, the whole experience has been full with surprises so far. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was teaching my first class with Carlos. The kids were very excited and friendly to see a fresh face. The class ended with a “Call Me Maybe” sing along, and now they sing it everyday.

Teaching them directions is very hard, especially when you don’t know Bahasa. Having them getting used to the concept of “Next to” and “Across from”, using the desks as roads is a great way for them to understand it. With a combination of a map, I hope they understand most of it. I guess we will find out during a quiz this week.

Since it’s the last week for Barbara, she hosted a special project on Saturday to do croche from used plastic bags that she and the kids picked up from the beach. There were so many kids that showed up, and they were very engaged with the activities not to mention the candies and chocolate milk.IMG_0265

One more week to go, can’t believe that I’m already half way through. Let’s make the best of it.

Thanks for your help Evgenia!

by Sahat, Co-Director, IHF Medan

This week, our work-study Evgenia from Greece just finished a volunteer in our Medan center. We had a lot of wonderful moments and great experience during her time in the center. She was charming and a wonderful teacher as the students like her very much. She taught English SD 2 and made some extra activities for students such as workshop and painting art class. She is an expert of teaching as being a teacher is her field. It can be seen when she taught SD2, the students were very glad and felt happy because she was very attractive and was successful to get attention from the students.11141347_828022287267576_6948574038281357209_n

Last week was the last time with her at our center. We had a nice class with some students on Friday. She shared a Greek story to be read in the class then the students tried to draw the pictures of each characters from that story. She also make a great video of her workshop about art class. That was very fun and amazing for the kids.

We hope that all volunteers in the future can give a high contribution as what Evgenia did in our center. We are all together maintaining the function of our center to be better.11136280_828020637267741_4634753106261220671_o