After just one week, volunteer and highly experienced English language teacher Kelley submitted a proposal for an adult language school in the two classrooms we had built at Alexandreia. Under his supervision, the school is already a hit with over 40 men and women attending regularly.
Thanks to the Norwegian Refugee Council, Help Refugees, Swiss volunteers Meret and Debora, and Kelley’s own donors we had it kitted out with desks, whiteboards and teaching materials in just 2 weeks. We worked with the IRC so that we didn’t conflict with their activities and worked with them to encourage the women to attend.
Within three weeks of Kelley’s arrival, we were running classes for beginners, elementary, intermediate level and advanced students and student numbers are growing. We’re also working with local resident Athena to introduce Greek language lessons and the NRC have provided an Arabic-English speaker to help with the beginner classes. Not only that, we have some conversation classes for volunteers so they can learn a bit of Syrian.
One of our main concerns with initiatives like this is how to sustain them when volunteers move on. Kelley is designing the system so that it will be self-sustainable when he leaves at the end of March by avoiding overly complicated class schedules, creating a set of easily understood course plans and training others.
They have also made the ideal home for our new library where every book has been catalogued and can be borrowed for up to 2 weeks.
These classrooms were originally built in September for the Ministry of Education to teach the kindergarten children on camp but they are still struggling to recruit teachers. We hope they resolve that soon. Their plan has always been to teach the kids in the morning so we are running the classes in the afternoon.
This way, the classrooms our donors have funded are getting used, the adults are learning valuable skills and we will still be ready for the kids whenever they can start.