We visited some schools in the last two days. In some, the floor was not paved in the classroom and in some places there were no benches, and the equipment necessary for the school was very poor.
Afterwards, we visited some Child Friendly Schools, where the students can learn in a clean environment and well-equipped school.
In every school where we went, the students feel a huge opportunity to learn. They respect their teachers and they want to support their country, their nation and their children when they grow up. The teachers were examples of incredible commitment. They set a very good example for the residents and the visitors too. This was my experience of what is typical of every school, regardless of the facilities onboard.
The local UNICEF programme in these areas supports, among other things, the early childhood programme, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and teacher training. They would like to make school available for every child who is living there, even in hard to reach places.
In the primary school, the children come to school in two different parts every day. And in some secondary schools, the students learn at three different times: from morning to early afternoon, early afternoon to early evening, and early evening to late evening.
Between the lessons they get a five-minute break.
Today we visited the Vienna Primary School. This school is one of the most famous in Luanda. This school has got six classrooms and one outside room. Fourteen teachers teach 1,816 students. A polio campaign starts today, with the goal of getting more children vaccinated against the disease. The vaccinations are free for the children. We asked the children in the class:”Who has got the polio vaccine already?” Many small hands flew up in the air. Some child showed us where the vaccination sign was on their body, as a sign of heroism and bravery.
Afterwards, our trip led to a new city, Kilamba.
It was incredible – as if we weren’t in the same country. Kilamba is located around 25 kilometres from the capital city of Luanda. This distance is not too far, only the traffic is not good. These cities are very different from each other. (E.g. we found some places in Luanda where the storage of garbage in the street is a very big problem. In contrast, in Kilamba, the people who living there collect their garbage in the selective waste bins).
We visited two education centres (Little Prince Education Centre and Kilamba Education Centre) where the children are aged from three months to five years old. The teachers who teach in these centres are highly educated. They develop in the children social skills, motor skills and also how can they establish a relationship with adults.
The teachers who teach here get training every three months, sometimes in the centre’s yard during the day, while the kids are sleeping.
Here, everybody works to the high standards. The children study in well-equipped function rooms, professionally trained teachers work with the children, and even pay attention to healthy nutrition for the children.
It was tidy and clean everywhere, so much so that you could eat from the floor.
It was good to see the level of development of this area. It seems to me this is a ray of hope that, one beautiful day, this condition will be the norm everywhere in Angola, not just this outstanding area.
However I felt a very interesting and weird feeling in my heart at the same time. I remembered the boy, whom we met when we visited the school the first time in Kuito. He told me this school means a lot to him because he gets the opportunity to learn .
In this school, the floor was not paved in the classroom, and some place we didn’t see the benches and the equipment was very poor. There were no the lamps in the classroom, only the sun gives some light in the class from outside.
I thought about it for the moment. If it is a very big opportunity for him, what would it mean if he could learn in the school in Kilamba? Could he imagine what it can be like to learn in a Child Friendly School?
We told a lot of people during the Soft Toys For Education campaign that €1 is a fortune. But now, when we see where the money is going, it really gives a sense for people like me what the real value of €1 is. It is incredible! Just think about the differences it can make in this area. If we could collect and send more money and support to the local UNICEF, then they will improve the existing schools in this area.They could build more Child Friendly Schools, where the students can use a hygenic bathroom, have clean drinking water, proper equipment and highly qualified teachers.
And in the areas where they haven’t yet built a school it would be a great opportunity for kids who are living here.