We continue in our third week in the new camp. One of the things educationally which we have noticed is that we are now doing comparatively little teaching of the basic alphabet and number system. Even just three months ago, this was by far the largest focus of our work. However, over the last few months, so many children have made progress in those areas that we are now able to move on and focus more upon handwriting and building up reading skills. We are still largely having to tutor individuals and small groups, rather than teach them. This is partially because our accommodation is still not yet suitable for working with larger groups but it is also because we are still finding vast differences between pupils of similar ages.
Although our core focus is education, because we know so many of the children and see them so regularly we are also becoming increasingly aware of their additional needs. We were therefore very pleased to meet UNICEF in the camp this week as they represent a partner organisation which we can raise these matters with, and ask for help. We have watched one profoundly deaf boy struggling and we have a number of other children where we have dental concerns. With still others, it looks to us as if there be significant eye-sight issues. These are matters which should normally be relatively easy to resolve but in the present circumstances they involve considerable reflection upon precisely how to move each matter forward.
When we first moved to the camp we were surprised and worried about a number of child protection issues, some of which were direct child endangerment matters. However as the camp has settled and, with the focus of UNICEF, we are very grateful to see these issues now starting to be resolved.
We continue to be grateful for volunteers coming out to support us. We are increasingly asking potential volunteers to just come and do a day trip to visit us before committing or discussing anything further. The camp is still a very different kind of work place to anything ‘normal’ so this allows people to get a sense of whether it is somewhere that the want to work, before having to make any significant decisions or plans. We have therefore seen a lot of day visits over the last week and we’re looking forward to more visitors during the Easter holidays. If you would like to visit us then please see our website for details of the camp location