Saturday, August 23, 2008

Capturing the Story: On the front lines

When I met with only the educators at the first school, we sat around a table and they spoke about how grateful they were of CES sponsorship and wondered how other youth could access the program. We had a candid discussion about how great the gap is between resources and need, and what can sometimes be seen as “the deserving poor.” It was a real eye opener as the questions they had and the areas they needed the most support in was dealing with the absolute poverty their students face. We were able to explore what could be useful in working with their students, and in particular, the ones that needed the extra understanding for not completing their homework. We explored how trauma, and in particular the recent experience following the post-election violence affects people. We discussed how the teachers could support each other and the students simply by talking and listening to one another’s experiences.

Although there was also a real interest in immigration policies and procedures, as well as multiple requests for employment contacts in Canada, I understood this line of questioning as coming from a feeling of helplessness in the face of such poverty. It also represented a cultural/generational difference in the mode by which information is transferred: word-of-mouth networking vs. the Internet.

The educators at the school were committed to their students and their questions were impressive in their desire to help those especially disadvantaged.

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