AHI held yet another get-together branded the ‘Valentine’s Charity Meet’ on the 16th of February. The Sunday event did suffer a brief episode of heavy downpour but that did not dampen the mood of those in attendance. Click here for photos of the event.
After the usual fun and games, members got down to serious business. The topic for discussion was the role of mentorships in the lives of children and the state of education in Kenya. AHI will soon be starting a Mentorship Program for students at Moonlight Center School.
The role of mentorship is to open the eyes of the children to new aspects of life they haven’t been exposed to. It is also to aid them shed previous misconceptions of the world and help them see their potential that often goes unrealized. For this reason, mentors should offer guidance on how the children’s dreams/ambitions can be achieved since they have been through similar challenges and have achieved something for themselves.
Another role of the mentorship programme is to assists in character building since the children will be guided on how to approach different issues in life. For example girls will learn from their mentors the various acceptable mannerisms and boys will taught what is expected of them in the society. A mentor is therefore also supposed to act as a role model since most children from poor backgrounds lack people to look up to in life. Mentors are also supposed to offer a realistic view of the careers the children want. This may help the child realise/discover certain aspects of their preferences that they may or may not like.
It was also suggested that the programme should have trained personnel in various fields give career talks to students in order to give them a better understanding of what to expect once they are in the university level. AHI was advised to get successful persons from the community where the students live to take part in the mentorship program in order to motivate them.
Groups unanimously agreed that education in Kenya is too centred on academic performance rather than individual development; talents and vocational training is grossly downplayed or ignored. This was attributed to the cramming mentality that has evolved from the need to perform well in exams. The society has over-emphasised on the need to be ‘number one’ and everything else is regarded as a failure.
It was suggested that AHI should capitalized on nurturing student’s talents. It should also emphasize on the importance of choosing a university course that goes hand in hand with their talent(s). To help a student know their abilities and talents, mentors will get students to do career and talent tests.
For the program to be a success, it was said that AHI should attempt to change the perception of teachers and students in the schools they work with using workshops and the mentorship program. This will encourage the acceptance of talent as a means of self-actualisation. On a national level, those in attendance felt the country needs to adjust education policies to focus on talent development and vocational training at all levels of education. This change would help shift students from a job-seeking to a job-creating mentality.
The best way to evaluate if the mentorship programme has achieved its desired goal is to get the students themselves to teach a session. That way mentors can mark their progress and correct any remaining misconceptions.
Comments from the interns
Teresa (left) shared her experience at Moonlight School. She teaches Maths in Form 1 and said that most students find it hard to understand the subject. She blamed this on the lack of books as well as the students’ inability to work without supervision. She was however optimistic that things would change with time and she added that she had noticed some improvement in participation in class.
Fun (right) noted that the students she is working with in Form One are very creative. She suggested they make arts and crafts that they sell as an alternative source of income for themselves and the school as well. AHI will provide the materials necessary to start this project.
All in all the meet was a success. We are hoping for a greater turnout in upcoming events as we continue to bridge the gap. Also, feel free to share your thoughts or suggestions on the issues discussed on the blog’s comments section below.