Blanket Games and Hair Braiding in Nakuru

024By Julie, Executive Director Kenya and Thailand

Despite our best efforts to run extra activities such as workshops, sports competitions and Movie nights, boredom has really set in with all the kids with the extended teacher’s strike going on.  The boys have invented a tug of war game with one of our new blankets! I didn’t have the heart to tell them off as they seemed to be having such fun. In the end no harm was done.  002The girls seem to spend the time endlessly weaving and un-weaving their hair. It always amazes me how much time and money Kenyan ladies spend on their appearance (unlike me who as a typical ‘Muzunga’ treks around in baggies and a t-shirt).  However, it all looks a bit painful to me. One of my friends told me that when she has her hair braided she has a headache for a week!

003Nyoru and I have posed for a ‘selfie’.  Last year Nyoru was quite hard work, as she struggled facing some of the challenges of becoming a teenager.  She has come through it now and is back on track. In fact, she has become one of my favourite girls. I think all the work I had to put in with her and the reward of seeing her blossom has made us very close.

Learning how to Save a Life at IHF Bali!

By Virginia, Voluntourist

IMG_5677After a morning visiting the Tirita Gangga Water Palace with Laura, it was time to head back to the center. As it was Wednesday, it was time to run a special activity. We had to
get back to give the children a lesson in First Aid!

The premise of the class was to talk the children through a scenario where they discover someone unconscious on the beach. We used Amanda as our example. Though she was simply on a table, she was represented someone IMG_5690lying on the beach and seemingly unconscious. We spent a couple of hours going through different scenarios like this. At the end the children knew who to call during this type of situation and how to do basic CPR. We introduced them to the song “Staying Alive” and had them practice their cardiac massages to the beat.

After the children all practiced on Amanda, everyone had a chance to be “doctor” or “patient”.

IMG_5693Even if they didn’t perfectly
remember all the actions to do in the right order, they tried hard and paid attention to what we were demonstrating. In the end, we were satisfied of the
results: we were able to speak about something important between laughter and games.

New Desks Enhance Jakarta Center!

photo 1By Alice, co-director IHF Jakarta

Our Jakarta center is finally starting to settle into a routine again after the arrival of our new co-director Gabby. Vlad, our previous co-director transferred to the Aceh center.

The weather in Jakarta has been extremely hot this week, which has left a heavy slow feeling over the whole city. However, this feeling never lasts at our center! photo 2From around 1:00 PM when kids stream into the center, until our last class which ends around 8 PM, IHF Jakarta is full to the brim with energy. No matter how ‘normal’ a week at the center is, it’s never quiet. There are always new registrations, parents question’s to answer, new exciting activities to plan and kids bouncing around between classes.

photo 3Most notably this week however, was the delivery of brand new desks to our center! These beautiful desks replaced ones which were starting to fall apart after years of daily use by IHF students. The new desks were extremely well received by the students and co-directors.  All of us are always excited to see new additions around the center!

Over the past few weeks, several new local volunteers have started at our center. We have had a great response rate to our advertisements for math teachers, and it is heart-warming to see the locals work so strongly with IHF to deliver much needed education to the less fortunate in their community.

Julie goes on a Trip and our Maize Continues to Amaze in Nakuru!

By Julie, Executive Director Thailand and Kenya

The maize harvest has been amazing so far this year. The back-breaking work of putting the maize in and out of the store every day to dry continues to keep me fit.  All of our neighbours are in awe of our crop. This satisfies me greatly as I have only been farming at the centre for three years. I’m sure that the maize is going to last us through the dry
season and right into next year. This will assist us greatly in feeding the children.

sadfghjI also had the opportunity tp take a short break and travel to Uganda. It’s easy and cheap (about $20) to get from Nakuru to Kampala by bus. The trip takes about 12 hours. I chose to take the day bus so that I could see the scenery. Looking out the window and seeing the tea plantations near Kericho was a delight.

My adventure also took me to  Jinja, which kjhgfdis the source of the Nile. I enjoyed seeing the varied wildlife inhabiting the area. The huge colony of bats, water birds and the reptiles were most intriguing to me.

A friend suggested to visit the Sesse Islands in the middle of Lake Victoria. The trip by ferry from Entebbe was erghjkiamazing, and the islands were some of the most serene I have visited.

It was great to know that such amazing locations are just a day’s journey from the IHF centre in Nakuru. And of course, I loved the warm welcome by all the centre children upon my return home.

New Arrival at Chiang Rai!

By Cheryl , Co-Director
I arrived at the Chiang Rai center last week to an incredibly warm welcome from both the co-directors Laura and Ushmi and the children. It was wonderful to finally meet everyone and get settled into my new home. We all had lots of fun in the process – cooking, chatting and getting to know each other!

gkgkgkgEven though there is always so much to do and experience at the center, I already feel like I have learned so much. For example, the other morning I decided to make everyone banana smoothies for breakfast.  Very quickly I discovered that smoothies are not a very popular breakfast in Thailand… Whoops!

Luckily our lovely local volunteer Ari came to rescue that evening with an incredible Thai-banquet for us all to enjoy. It was absolutely delicious! All was forgiven.

Next week is exam week. All the ajajajajachildren have been working hard, especially Darid and Kantya, as they both have major projects to complete. Jiraporn has also been extra-busy attending English competitions in Chiang Mai. She is the best English student in her class! And Chichiporn, her sister, has been taking extra English lessons with Ushmi. She seems set to follow in her sister’s footsteps. I am sure everyone will do fantastic considering how hard everyone has been studying.

shshshshsAlthough it has only been a couple of weeks, I am already looking forward to spending a year here in Thailand.
This is my first NGO-based experience. I am incredibly inspired by the people and the possibilities I have already met through my role as co-director, and am excited about those still might encounter. This will undoubtedly be one very special and unforgettable adventure!

A Musical Saturday

BMUSIC (1)y Laura, Work-Study

Our special activity last week has been one of my favorite experiences in Bali. We borrowed instruments from our neighbors and spent the early hours of the afternoon singing songs and making a lot of noise! It was amazing to see the students progress from listening shyly to gaining the courage to play the instruments themselves.MUSIC

Two students in particular, Dicky and Yoga, really blew us all away. Towards the end of the activity, they sat down in front of some bongos and started playing like professionals! This activity took away the language barrier separating us. Through their engagement with the music, I was really able to see the characters of some of the shyer children.

The Art of Teaching

By Sahat, Co-Director IHF Medan

One of our local teachers, Jenifer, has a beautiful art of teachingArt class. Every day at the center, she makes sure that her classes’ are a great performance. She really has a pure heart for teaching children and maintains positive interactions with the kids. This works to build the relationship between them all. She is still young, being only 16 years of age, but she never loses a chance to prepare a better learning experience. Jenifer creates classroom activities and games to make learning come alive for our children.

This week, she decided upon watching a video. Attentively watching English movies and television programs is one of the best ways to increase listening skills.
Jenifer and her students all watched together. There are so many things that the children can pick up from this kind of programming, which expands their understanding of Jenifer with her studentsgrammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Jennifer says that the children were able to catch a lot of the words spoken by the characters in the film. We are so proud of them!

It is very important for us to create engaging educational games and minimize boredom in the classroom. One thing that we always try to incorporate into our teaching at the center is drawing. As such, this was one program that was organized for the children this week. We held an art class for our SD2 English students which functioned as a catalyst for the children to explore their creativity. The children created wonderful pieces of artwork and seemed to enjoy themselves greatly. They sported joyful expressions on their faces throughout this fun educational activity.


On a final note, Dustin, a co-director from IHF Aceh center, visited us here at Medan. He recently finished his long term volunteering with IHF. Lissa and I spent some hours with him before he began his journey to Thailand and then the United States. We relaxed, chatted and had a lovely lunch at the center as we said our farewells. It such a great experience to meet him face to face and talk more about life in terms of international volunteering.

Best of luck Dustin!

IHF’s Birthday Gift to Me

By Gabby, Co-director, IHF Jakarta

Butterflies welling in my stomach, I traveled from the airport by Bajaj and bus to IHF’s Jakarta center. The bustle of people and motorbikes zipping only adphotoded to my excitement about this new journey with IHF. Always having had a taste for adventure,
I was excited to be living in Jakarta for a whole year! Upon my arrival, Alice made me feel right at home—even though I arrived about an hour and a half late (sorry!).

I have been at the Jakarta center for two weeks now, and can already see my time here as a co-director will impact my life in an immeasurable way.  Though the children have abundant energy at times, they are among their friends and capitalizing on an opportunity to expand their knowledge through mathematics, English, Alfatoun and computer classes.  Even with limited resources, all of the local volunteers and co-directors are able to inspire oof sept 14 021ur students not only to learn, but have fun as well! Such was demonstrated by the coordination of a movie night on Wednesday, were we made popcorn and watched Guardians of the Galaxy with our students.
Coincidently , it was also my birthday! Being my first birthday abroad, it reminded me how long I would be away from my friends and family back in the United States. However, the IHF family surprised me with a cake! I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Thank you Karin aof sept 14 029nd Alice, for making me feel at home.

That act of kindness gave me the confidence booster I needed for my class on Friday. I was both nervous and excited to be teaching the SD 6 class. The class had been working on model verbs and the past continuous tense over the last two weeks or so, and I was to administer a quiz. The students were engaged during our review of the material and worked diligently on the quiz.

Though international experiences and non-profit work are my two greatest passions, volunteering with IHF will by my first opportunity to do both in junction with one another. The cultural awareness I am gaining along with the insight into of sept 14 028the true impact a small dedicated group of individuals can have on a community is bar none. Thank you IHF, for availing me this opportunity to learn about Indonesian culture, experience life abroad, and most importantly, use my skills to help children learn and gro

Being able to assist IHF in its mission to bring equal education to all is the greatest gift I have ever received.

Thank you, IHF!

How do you engage students in learning?

By Sahat, Co-director, IHF Medan

Learning English language has always been a very interesting activity for our students. Teachers are always creating a better way to attract the studen20150820_181952ts’ motivation and to engage in the learning process. Changing them from passive learners to active learners.

Robiyani, one of our English teachers, has successfully created a strategy in her teaching. She wanted to apply a game to increase the vocabulary for our elementary aged students. It’s called “Head and Tail”. The purpose of this game is to help them learn new vocabulary and recall on their minds of English words that they have. Students take a minute to work in groups and list as many vocabulary words as they could. Then they shared their lists with the class as a part of a formal discussion. This kind of teaching was a great method to involve the students and teach them to work together through sharing ideas among themselves as engaged learners.

We also believe that a class game can be a great way to make the students more excited about learning. Not only because it aids in review20150818_194859 (2)ing course material, but also because it helps them enjoy leaning about a topic. Incorporating different games such as scrabble or puzzles always gets the students’ minds going. The students get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from this.

Laura is back at IHF Chiang Rai center!

by Laura, co-director, IHF Chiang Rai

After four months of medical rel11958281_10153591818134231_7810616107977585579_oase in Spain due to an accident, I finally came back to Thailand this week. I am so excited to be back!

Well, I didn’t miss the heat, the mosquitos and the spicy food at all, but I missed the kids very much. Some of them have greatly improved their English. Their improvements were wonderful to see. They all continue to work hard at school, especially now that the mid-terms exams are getting closer.

On top of the children working hard on their studies, there are other happenings at the center as well. We now have a huge family of chickens! Additionally, the center requires many repairs.

So, let the work begin!