It’s our last day in Yunnan, China, and it happens to be a Saturday. We participated in the early childhood care and development center’s activity which runs every weekend, and this is one of the most important projects that IKEA Foundation is funding through Save the Children. The parents in the area are busy with their agriculture and do not have access to send their children to pre-school. It takes longer than average for the pre-school-aged children there to grow and develop, which affects their learning after going into school. We found that having primary school alone is not enough. That’s why Save the Children helps train local volunteers, and their curriculums and activities help the kids study and grow through playing games.
The classroom was packed with parents and their children when it was time to start the class. The classroom was small but all the required facilities and equipment were all set up. Teachers had their own methods in teaching, and this is the result of everyone’s effort. Handcrafts made by the volunteers hung by the window area elevated the spirit of learning, and this made the environment look very creative.
The teacher made the students follow after them for doing some basic actions. It was because most of the kids here are ethnic minorities and they don’t really know how to speak Chinese, so then the teachers have to use their body languages to help them become familiar with the language.
Inside the classroom, the volunteers shared what they have experienced and what they saw, creating something from nothing, during this participation. They were all very happy to see such that the center can bring a big change to the kids. Many volunteers themselves did not get good education, but through training sessions organized by Save the Children, they could become teachers themselves. This not only allowed them to do many things for the parents and the kids living in the village, but they also felt very accomplished doing this.
Grandma (her nickname used by everyone in the village) is with her granddaughter. She comes to the center to participate as one of the 12 volunteers. She lives in the remotest and farthest area from the center and it takes 2 hours for her. But, she has never been absent ever since the center was opened 2 years ago. We asked why she was so hard-working. Her response was that it’s all for the benefit of the kids here and she said she will continue to work hard! Grandma is the only example in this village, and she hopes that she can bring the knowledge learned here in school back to her own village, and this will change the lives of the little ones. I could see love on her face, her love towards her granddaughter and towards each and every child!