Graffiti and Revision

By: Gabby, Co-Director Jakarta

We are still reminiscing Pass it On 095about how wonderful our ceremony was last weekend. With Pass-It-On behind us, we have entered the time of year when students will go on break.  Children will soon have off from school, and attendance will drop. As such, we have been re-enforcing past topics, rather than starting new ones. In this way, we are able to make sure students who are unable to come to classes in the end of December do not fall behind.

But reviewing old information does not have to be a bore! At Jakarta center, we have been trying to create engaging ways to go back through the information. Incorporating movie clips, like Mr. Bean or Charlie Chapman are always a hit. The students are told to write their reactions to what they watch or describe what they see in paragraph form.

File_000 (1) (1)Paragraph writing can be one of the most difficult things when learning a new language and this is a fun, engaging way to get the students thinking.

As usual, we ran 2 special activities this week. The first was to make fish out of paper. Though we did not have many students come and it was not as complicated as some of our more recent activities, the children who participated had a blast. They used glue, scissors, and colored paper to make beautiful fish.

The second activity was a graffiti File_002 (1) (1)class for our SD5-SMA students. After talking to Rhama, one of the children living at Jakarta center, I decided that this would be a great activity. Many of our students SD5 and above are interested in Graffiti.  Even the boys showed up; usually they shy away from the craft activities.

As always, we are hectic and frazzled, but in good spirits!

Fruits and Recruitment in Bali

By: Maja, Work-Study Bali IMG_5710
Wednesday morning our co-director Virginia and I woke up at 5 am in the morning. At this time the sun has not yet risen and the air has not yet been filled with the sounds of people and animals. This kind of silence is a rare phenomenon here in Bali, therefore, you fully enjoy it when you have the opportunity. However, we did not only wake up this early for enjoying the silence, but rather for visiting one of the more chaotic and loud places in the area: the market in Manggis. The goal of the trip was to buy exotic and different fruits while recruiting new students for the center.

IMG_5712We arrived at the market just before 6 am and it was already filled with people from all the surrounding villages. Virginia and I were welcomed with smiles and laughter from the lovely Indonesian people who had woken up early to sell their products. Some people also looked at us with disbelief as it is not common for a white person to visit the market that early in the morning. Additionally, Virginia and I have a very pale complexion even after weeks of sunbathing. We also have curly hair. Virginia is very tall while I am very short. In other words, we were an interesting topic for the locals’ small talk.

While walking down the small street with stalls on both sides, we handed out the leaflets to the locals while trying to explain that we come from the Yayasan in Buitan. Everybody knows that there is a NGO in Buitan, but they do not know that their children can have English lessons for free. Therefore, they get really excited and ask about the schedule, age, classes etc.

Unfortunately, the small amount of Indonesian we know is not enough to start a proper conversation with them. Nonetheless, it is amazing how people treated us when they found out that we are working in a yayasan. The recruitment went over all expectation with people literally taking the leaflets out of IMG_5711
our hands. Hopefully, the recruitment will lead to a lot of new students registering at the center. Apart from the recruitment the shopping also went very well as we bought a large amount of fruit including bananas, some interesting fruits we have not seen before, markisas and palm sugar. We also bought small rice cakes in different forms and sizes. All in all it was a very successful trip.

Medan: Indonesia’s street-food capital?

By Giovanni, Voluntourist.
What do you think of when I say street food? Bangkok? Penang? Saigon? Well, make sure you add Medan to that list. Mouth-watering dishes can be found at every corner here. One of the best places to experience the local cuisine is Jalan Semarang, packed with Chinese food stalls. The long ride through potholes to get there is totally worth it, as the food is authentic and delicious, and there are plenty of choices. The other day I tried fried snake. 1_Street_FoodThe streets of Medan also abound with some of the freshest and most unique tropical fruits in the world. My favourite is terong belanda, but I also can’t resist a sweet avocado/chocolate or a thirst-quenching sirsak.
Though I have been on an eating rampage since I touched land in Sumatra, this week I got the chance to burn some of those calories too. On Sunday, a group of our students took me for an early-morning jogging session in Merdeka Walk, where we also got to dance and hit the playground. Wednesday was a public holiday, 2_Footballand I played football with Sahat and some of the boys. Much sweat but great fun indeed!
The work-life balance is good here at IHF Medan. I usually spend my mornings to prepare learning/game activities for the students, whereas I help with English classes in the evenings. Weekends are mostly free, and I have been exploring the city center on foot. Two of the most important landmarks in Medan are the Grand Mosque and the Maimoon Palace, both built by the Sultan between the 19th-20th centuries and combining  several architectural styles. I felt like a celebrity visiting the palace, as countless 4_Maimoon_Palacelocals asked to take photos or videos with me.
Medan may not be listed as a tourist destination on most travel guides, but it is filled with truly Indonesian character, and I am enjoying every minute of it!

Sharing Cultures in Kenya

By Kerith, Voluntourist

My name is Kerith and I am from The South East of England, just west of Brighton. I’ve come to IHF Kenya as a voluntourist.  I have been at IHF Kenya for just over a week now and I have one week to go.  I know already that I will be really sad to leave. I’ll definitely be looking to see if I can come back some day.

I have been put in charge of the rabbits while I am here.  They are great although the cockerel that leaves with them is mildly terrifying.  I always try and take some of the kids with me to help with the rabbits, as much to protect me from that rooster as to learn about caring for the rabbits.

Glitter!I bought lots of story books with me from England and have been reading with the kids.  They read really well once they have overcome their
shyness and they have as much fun laughing at their English pronunciation as they do laughing at my Swahili.  So far George’s Marvellous Medicine has definitely been the favourite and a group of us
read that between us in one sitting.

This week we have been making decorations to get ready for cutting down and decorating a tree next week.  One of girls is blind and I made a couple of bulbs with her. Amazingly she was the one who stayed the neatest out of all of the kids.  It was the first time many of them had seen glitter and we all ended up covered in glue, coloured pen and glitter.  Even the boys joined in and before we knew it everyone had sparkly hair.

One of our Co-Directors, Mike, Fitnessran a fitness session.  Mike is a sports coach at home in South Africa and is hoping to run a football tournament here early next year.  I think there might have been more giggling and collapsing than push ups but they all had great fun.  Mike will not admit this in a million years but some of the older boys definitely gave him a run for his money.

As the week has gone on the kids have started to trust me more, they have been more open about their own stories and culture.  They are also keen to hear about me and ask loads of questions about where I live in England and English culture.  Some of the boys showed me videos of men fighting to win a bride and asked if this happens in English culture.  I couldn’t help
but laugh.  I explained that we are not supposed to fight and that we can The girls!go to prison for fighting.  But they should see Brighton town centre on a Saturday night!  They are also confused that I’m ‘old’ but don’t have kids.  It’s easy to forget that we have the luxury of choice in these matters.  Besides, being ‘mum’ to these kids for a couple of weeks is the best and most rewarding experience any parent could ask for.


Aceh: Fully Sponsored, Preparing for Exams


By David, Co-Director Aceh

This week came with some excellent news. We found out all of our students in Aceh have been sponsored! The children and staff are incredibly grateful for our sponsors’ generosity and hope that it can be similarly extended to those in need at IHF’s other centers. But before we can get down to writing the many thank you letters, there is still plenty of studying to do.

IMG_8663With midterm exams next week, we’re holding our final review classes before seeing just how much the students have retained so far this year. From a teaching perspective, this raises some challenges. Devising interesting ways to present material is a perpetual endeavor in lesson planning. This becomes even more important and difficult when reviewing old material that can easily lose kids’ interest.

In addition to classes, we’re also busy IMG_8664preparing tests and making arrangements for next week’s Pass It On ceremony. It’s our first major event as a Co-Director team, and we’re all excited to see how it goes!


Putting the FUN into Fundraising

FullSizeRender (3)By Cheryl, Co-Director Thailand

Donation boxes, flyers, and online marketing kept us very very busy this week! Chiang Rai has tried its hand to fundraising, and we think we’ve done it in
the fun-est ways possible!

IMG_2928Just check out our hand-made donation boxes. Hand print courtesy of Chichiporn, who was incredibly excited by the arts and crafts evenings and wanted to help out as much as she could!! We have put our custom boxes all around the city and are hoping to catch the eyes of generous tourists everywhere.

But we didn’t stop there. Attempting to put IHF Chiang Rai on the agenda of as many concerned locals as we could find we hosted a human trafficking awareness event, with a side order of… you guessed it fun! This time, in the form of a QI themed quiz featuring brain teasers likedo something or do nothing

Which of the following is an actual medical condition?

A. big hands disease

B. Exploding head syndrome

C. Giggly Gut Disorder

D. Soft ‘n’ Squidgy peristalsis

The quiz kept everyone entertained and mini presentations kept our crowd  informed. All in all it was a great night, and we even managed to raise a few pennies for the center! And if you’re wondering what the answer was, I bet you didn’t guess B!!

Happy Cultural Submersion in Medan

By Giovanni, Voluntourist.1_english_class
Coming to IHF Medan was the right choice. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming, both inside and outside of the center. As in most places off the tourist trail, people are glad to have visitors, curious to know why I chose to come here, and reward with smiles all my attempts to speak broken Indonesian. They ask me to take pictures with them, and when they see me passing by on a motorbike they wave and yell “hello!”.
There is a great team of co-directors here. They are passionate about what they do, and always find the time to both teach and manage the center, and to have a tea with me at the warung next door. Several local volunteers also donate their knowledge and skills to the kids, which seem very enthusiastic and keen to attend the classes. It’s not just about English, maths, and computers: we’ve had a very active week. Besides 2_practicing_singingtheir classes, some of our students stay with us to get ready for an event that will take place in a couple of weeks. They practice singing and acting, and I can see them getting better and better every day.
As for me, it has been a non-stop cultural and language exchange. One of the highlights was a wedding ceremony that we attended on Wednesday, as we were invited by the mother of one of our students. One of her family members was getting married, and I was able to learn about the traditions of their tribe: the Batak. In the Batak ritual, all close relatives donate an elegant red piece of cloth to the bride and the groom, and take turns to wrap them in it.
Since there are normally no classes on Friday, we organized a special afternoon session for the kids to learn about new things they are not familiar with, while practicing their English. Jenifer and I went though a presentation with the kids, showing them images and videos, and exposing them to a wide variety of topics, all somehow related to the English-speaking world. We sang the Beatles, got entertained by surfers and rugby players, spoke Singlish, and learnt about Nelson Mandela.
It was a fantastic first week, and I look forward to the upcoming ones. Stay tuned!

Creative Problem Solving in Art

By Gabby, Co-Director IHF Jakarta sdgfg 003

Like trees, children will grow tall and strong! This is why I decided for our Special Activity we would make trees out of cardboard.

The kids really enjoyed the activity because they were able to use scissors. Usually I am uncomfortable with giving them scissors, as our children tend to be quite high energy, and we average 15-25 students per Art class. However, after seeing them grow and progress through these craft activities, I came to the conclusion that they were mature enough to handle a bit of scissor wielding themselves.

As it was a 3D construction activity, the students had to figure out what pieces had to fit where in order for the tree to be able to stand. They also had to figure out how to attach the branches without having them fall off during the painting process. Even after giving an example, some of the students still had difficulty. However, sdgfg 007it was great to see their minds working, creatively solving the problems of construction.

Once the structure of their trees was secure, they were able to paint the trunk and branches of the tree. In order to increase their creative freedom, they were not constricted to natures norms when it came to choosing the color they wished to paint their trees. Therefore we had blue, brown, orange, and pink trees.

After picking what color paper they sdgfg 008waned their leaves to be, they cut and glued them on. Or rather, they asked the teachers for some assistance in cutting the leaves, and then glued them on themselves.

All in all, concentration and joy was abounding!

Learning to Save

By: Sahat20151113_163823
Special activity is always held on Fridays at the center. This week, we planned to make a piggy bank from second hand materials such as cans and boxes that the children could easily bring in from home. Other materials that needed to be prepared were scissors, white craft glue to firmly secure all of the materials, and some colour patterned paper or wrapping paper to cover the whole body of 20151113_165611the piggy bank.We decided to do this kind of creative activity to encourage the children to save money. along with showing them how to recycle by using second hand material. Before Friday, we had informed the children to collect their own material, and to bring it in on that day. By doing so,  they were free to decide what kind of piggy bank that they wanted to make.This time, the children were primary students of SD 5. They also had help in making this great craft activity with some senior students like Juli, Rina, Ardi and Atin. One boy, Ezriel created his own piggy bank 20151113_165555from a shoe box! The other two girls created their own from some empty milk cans  with the help of Nur, one of our local math teachers who always helps with our special activities at the center!

Nakuru Feels Like Home

By Agnieszka, Co-Director Nakuru

My name is Agnieszka and I just started working as a Co-Director at IHF. Coming to Kenya was very exciting and emotional for me because it felt like returning home after having a long time away

I remember it very well, just like it was yesterday. Three years ago I was getting ready to leave the country after having my first volunteering experience. I promised myself I that I must come back!

WP_20151122_19_29_07_ProIn Kenya time passes differently. Even though we are all very busy here with local and international tasks, there is always time for joy, play and kindness. This is one of the reasons why I felt for Kenya so deeply – the good energy you receive from the children, their appreciation and their love is enormous. They make you experience happiness in its purest form, simply through the time spent together.

Last week was a very important in the center since all of the children finished their classes. I even had a chance to attend the graduation ceremony with two little boys – we had spent all day (literally!) in the WP_20151120_08_56_49_Proclassroom listening to children`s poems and songs. Then finally we saw the top students being rewarded. It was a very emotional day for the children and was worth all the time spent there!

Now, as the official first week of my one year stay in the center came to an end, I can say that I’ve never felt this excited about my work ever before! Yes, it is very challenging, but it is very rewarding too. It is rewarding in the most beautiful way – through the smiles of the children for who we create a home.