In June, Invictus Institute volunteer Stephanie visited students and teachers of Phildan Memorial Education Centre in Ahero, Kenya. Stephanie spent two days at the school working with both students and faculty. On the first day of her visit, the School held a special assembly to celebrate the installation of some new girl’s toilets. The assembly included songs and poems performed by students, and Stephanie was asked to cut the ribbon to celebrate the new addition.
The rest of her visit was spent helping out around the school by teaching, assisting in classrooms, or playing with the students. Students were excited to have Stephanie there to teach them – each class would request her. For many, it was their first foreigner encounter. In addition to teaching English and math, Stephanie would answer questions the students had about her home country. Stephanie noticed the school’s physical needs – the walls were made of earth and tin, there was no kitchen or permanent classroom, the students nor teachers didn’t have books. The principal of the school noted that official school status would be granted by the government only when a permanent classroom had been developed. Also, teachers were making large personal sacrifices to teach pupils with little compensation – and students were often ill and unable to attend classes. Despite these setbacks, students and teachers were still keen on education and excited to have Stephanie visit.
This first-hand experience reinforced Stephanie’s belief about under-resourced education – schools were neglected, and qualified staff were sparse. The remoteness of these schools makes this especially difficult. Though memorable for Stephanie, students and teachers, the trip is clear evidence of issues in education disparity. Building the resourcefulness of similar schools globally will help nurture this deserving talent, and pave the way to a more fair and thriving world.