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We are already two months here in Addis Ababa, working for Sport the Bridge (STB). It’s time to present ourselves and our projects, which we already started with a lot of motivation.
We like the philosophy of STB and its aspects of holistic development and re-integration. Because of our professional and personal background we are highly interested in the thoughts of using sport pedagogy as a way to empower street children for school and family re-integration. That’s why we are very happy to work have the possibility to work for STB.
We are 28 and 29 years old and a couple. Moïra is a primary teacher and already taught for 5 years in Swiss schools and as well worked in Myanmar for two years in an educational program for children and teachers (Education for Youth – E4Y http://cvt-myanmar.org/new/index.php/.) in Yangon, Myanmar. There she trained future teachers, developed curriculums together with the Myanmar teachers and taught English lessons to the Myanmar children who were living on the street. After 6 years of teaching, Moïra felt to have a break and travel to Asia and India to visit E4Y and after to work abroad together with Beni for more than half year. Moïra started the study of dance and movement two years ago. This study she had to interrupt because of the stay in Ethiopia.
Beni was working for Swisscom (swiss telecommunication company) from 2002 to 2007. After, he could make a wide range of experiences in the field of Social Work while he was serving civil service instead of going to the military. He liked his different works very much, so he decided to study Social Work. He finished his Bachelor-studies in sociocultural animation in Lucerne in March 2014. He always was very interested in other cultures and was curious about people’s lifestyles in other corners of the world. But after a lot of traveling, he was looking for a new experience and decided that he wishes to live and work abroad one day. After he finished his studies in Social Work this year and with Moïra’s very nice company , he found the possibility to realize that dream.
The general objective of this project is to build and maintain a vegetable and spice garden next to the STB peer house. The peer house gives an opportunity to STB children which can’t be reintegrated to their families within the planned period of one year. One specific objective of the project is to give responsibility to the children living in the peer house and the STB children working in the garden. The children learn about recycling garden waste (composting), about planting and maintaining a garden and about healthy food and hygienic. After the first two months we already cleaned the garden, built patches and held the first workshop about gardening in the peer house.
This week we started planting the vegetable. There are two groups of children working in the garden once a week. Unfortunately the raining season just started very badly, so we hope the plants will survive the floods. We hope there will be a lot of vegetable to harvest after the raining season. The plan is to harvest it and cook it together with the kids for one special STB event.
Perception games project
The general objective of this project is to improve self and social confidence and perception of the STB team and the children through perception games. Especially for the rainy season and for breaktimes the games can be a helpful option to attract the children and teach them about important topics like perception or social skills. If in the rainy season the children can’t go to the sports field, it’s nice to have the option to play perception games on the STB compound and it doesn’t need a lot of space to do it. Another specific objective is to learn more about the teacher’s training method. Moïra holds weekly teacher’s training periods with the teachers of the Sport Department. The teachers teach the games to the children and get feedback about their teaching methods from the other teachers. We are collecting all the perception games, so that it will be easy accessible to use for everyone. Once a month Moïra is doing a half day workshop to all the team members of STB about perception games with the aim to improve self- and group-perception.
I always loved to play Hackysacky. This is a little, filled ball who most of the swiss people know from the breaktimes in their childhood. Already in Switzerland, I thought, the street children could like as well to learn to play Hackysacky. Because, this game only needs one thing that can be carried in the pocket of trousers: a Hackysacky. With this little ball, they can play alone or in company. They can improve their fine motor skills, their body control, their teamplay and much more without even realizing it.
I’m realizing the project with the very helpful help of Behailu, the STB-teacher. Before we could start to play, the children had to produce their own Hackysacky with a crochet hook and thread (Häkelnadel und Garn). This was very unusual and hard for a lot of the children. But I was happy to see how fast they learned and how much they liked doing it. Now, as they finished their Hackysackys, we face the problem that they don’t want to start to play. They want to make another Hackysacky. This is a nice problem and I guess we will solve when we show them how to play with the little ball and motivate to learn it with a nice, huge final tournament where they can show their skills.
I’m very happy how the project evolves and how I can develop the next steps together with Behailu. The project even took a different direction which I like very much. Some of the children make their own garments to warm theirselves in the cold rainy season.
After finishing the Hackysacky-project, I will start to make a short documentary-movie about STB. I’m having a lot of experience in making movies, so I hope I can find a way to show outsiders how STB is helping to a lot of children and what makes it unique. I can’t tell much about how the movie will look like but I hope that I can present you the final product on this blog in some months.
We are both very motivated and we hope our projects can have a positive influence to Sport – The Bridge. From the very beginning we felt welcome, well supported of the whole team and comfortable in the lovely Guesthouse.
We use this opportunity to say thank you to everyone from Ethiopia and Switzerland who made it possible that we can spend such a great time here in Addis Ababa!