Teachers to the rescue!

One of the many lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is how it affected our children’s education. A number of our children had already been struggling at school, for a range of reasons. Some started school late (or not at all prior to being placed under the care of Sarnelli House), others have some issues with cognitive development and a few more just need that extra push with certain subjects. Their situations were severely worsened by the very regular interruptions to their schooling during the pandemic. The local schools closed every time a new localised outbreak was discovered and the kids had to study remotely. For some grade school kids, this merely meant some worksheets being delivered to them at home, but the older students had to study online. This was very difficult for them as they had to share laptops, use phones and depend on often unreliable WIFI signals. It didn’t take long for the motivation levels to drop. Sarnelli House has a fine team of house mothers and carers, but they were unable to meet the educational needs of all the students, and quite predictably, some of the kids fell further behind.

With the help of Stichting van Vrienden Sarnelli in the Netherlands, a foundation run by Leon & Henriette Castermans, two newly qualified teachers have been hired to help about 15 kids who are struggling with basic literacy and numeracy. Ms. Pla and Ms. Noon have brought great energy to their work, teaching each evening for two hours, as well as on Saturday mornings. The groups are small so each student gets plenty of attention and a chance to ask questions or have something explained in more detail. The students have really enjoyed the classes so far and this is tribute to the teachers’ enthusiasm and creativity. They are trying to make the lessons fun and use visual media and physical activities as well as the traditional schoolbook and whiteboard.

The aim is to get this group of kids some way up to speed in the six months that the teachers will remain at Sarnelli House. During the mornings, Pla and Noon spend their time at the House of Hope nursery, helping the toddlers not yet at kindergarten with basic motor skill development, again through games and activities. And as if that wasn’t enough, they are both qualified instructors in Thai traditional dancing, and have taught another dozen kids this graceful and historic art form, which goes back hundred of years. The children have even performed the dance at parties in the hall.

Thanks to the grant from Stichting van Vrienden Sarnelli, Sarnelli House is able to pay these teachers a decent wage, supply them with materials and house and feed them for their time here. Plan and Noon have shown great commitment already and we are very positive about this project. 

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