This video shows the creation of the learning center as well as the first lessons and presentations. It gives you an idea about how children use the learning center day after day. The song in the video was sung by the children in the learning center
13-year-old Edy talks about his life in Sawinggrai and about how thankful he is to be able to study english and other subjects every day in the learning center. This after just four months of English lessons.
What is the education centre?
The education center in Sawinggrai is a place where the children of Raja Ampat can gain knowledge about the importance of their oceans and coral reefs. The children can benefit from daily English lessons as well as regular presentations on various topics concerning the environment, such as the issue of plastic waste.
In June 2016, Jonas had a meeting with the village chief of Sawinggrai and discussed potentially useful projects for the village. His initial idea was that the villagers could learn English in his village. Jonas supplemented his plan with the suggestion that, besides teaching English, the education project could also include other topic areas such as marine protection, waste problems, mathematics, geography, etc. The village chief welcomed this suggestion and, after conferring with the other islanders, and with a great deal of support from friends and acquaintances in Switzerland, the construction work for the 35 m2 education center in Raja Ampat started in August 2016.
Who can use the education center?
The education centre is primarily used by school age children between the ages of 8 and 20. Of course adults are also allowed to use the education centre. Some adults have already come in to learn Basic English or to improve their existing English language skills. The education centre is open to everyone.
Who is teaching at the education center?
Usually Maya or Jonas is teaching in the education center. However, to ensure that the concept is sustainable and continues to function once we are absent, we are very keen to transfer our knowledge and encourage our local team and students to be part of our teaching programs. Already now, our best students are an important part of our lessons. Nevertheless, they just studying english since a few months, they already can transfer their knowledge to our new students.
What is taught at the education center?
The subjects I teach are quite varied. During the day, we often put together a class where children come to the education center to learn English, geography or mathematics. These subjects are taught on a regular basis. In the evenings, provided there is electricity, we often give presentations about specific topics, such as marine research, overfishing, the problem of plastic waste, healthy eating, body hygiene (using a toothbrush), etc. The subjects vary and we address topics that we feel are important for the future and relevant to the people on the island. Quite often, the children themselves tell us which subjects they are interested in and ask us to hold a presentation about them. It’s inspiring to see how curious these children are, and of course we are happy to fulfill their respective requests. Following the presentations, the children and adults can enjoy an appropriate documentary on a large screen. Sometimes, however, the small and large children are simply shown a good comedy film.
Our planning also includes larger projects in the areas of waste management and marine protection. These will require more time, however, and could take several weeks or even months.
What kind of equipment is available at the education center?
- 1x large whiteboard
- 3x small whiteboards
- colouring pens & water colours
- various writing materials
- books in English and Indonesian covering topics such as:
· learning to read and write
· general knowledge (world maps, atlas, etc.)
· marine protection
· preparation books for school exams
· drawing books
· water colours and large sheets of drawing paper
· story books
The children use the education center very often and have already made great progress with topics such as marine protection (oceans, fish, coral reefs and trash). But also when it comes to speaking English, they now have a clear head start on the kids from the other islands. We can hardly wait to hold further presentations and launch the larger projects.
Because of our success with this education center, we already implemented our creative classes in some new villages in order to extend to a wider audience, i.e. to more children.
It breaks our heart to watch how those who are least to blame for climate change, the extinction of species and marine pollution are those who are affected first.
Ouraim is to convey the knowledge they need to protect their local region and to enable many more generations to lead a simple, content and happy life in Raja Ampat. The intention is for the children to further develop their creativity and intelligence so that they can use their insights and knowledge about nature to safeguard their own future.