"I think their favorite part of the tour though was playing on the beach because many of them had never seen the ocean before.”
A group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Namibia recently came together in collaboration with a local nonprofit organization to lead a week-long educational tour of the country for 40 at-risk youth. The tour is an annual initiative led by Peace Corps Namibia’s diversity committee aimed at providing orphans and marginalized youth — many of whom have never traveled outside of their own community — with the opportunity to explore Namibia, develop a respect and appreciation for other local cultures, and build healthy lifestyle and leadership skills.
This photo features a group of 5th graders at Waterberg Primary School in Namibia. It was taken November 10, 2009 shortly after the new computers arrived and the desks and painting had been completed. Along with teachers from my school, I solicited and created a relationship with a nearby local German NGO which ultimately donated 22 new computers to Waterberg Primary School, while the school fundraised for and built the tables and desks. The new computer lab that resulted was used by the school faculty and staff, students and surrounding village community and I held daily training courses for teachers, adults and students. When I left Waterberg, the Internet had not yet been set up, but my explanations and lessons for computer use had registered and made an impact, because 10 months after my departure from the school (and to this day), I received an email from my principal (and several from eager former students), I knew that the computer lab was being used and valued.
This photo was taken on August 2, 2009 with one of the several Window of Hope groups that I worked with in Namibia. Window of Hope is a UNICEF driven educational program made up of lifeskills and HIV/AIDS education workshops. We met twice a week for several hours to discuss things that many young students encounter throughout the world including self-esteem issues, gender issues, pregnancy and HIV/AIDS education. It was a safe-haven for students who could not speak openly due to traditional stigmas on feelings, and general fears or questions children have growing up in a rural hostel school. This group has just finished the program! - Peace Corps Education Volunteer Melissa Becci