Our Plan for Iganga District, Uganda

Our Plan for Iganga District, Uganda

OUR PROJECT: PROVIDE AN EDUCATIONAL MODEL THAT IMPACTS 30,000 UGANDAN STUDENTS

In 2013, approximately 65 million adolescents were out of school. A third of these adolescents live in sub-Saharan Africa (UNICEF Out of School Children Data Release, 2015).

Fifty-seven percent of secondary age children in Uganda have not completed a primary school education (National Education and Policy Center, 2014). Even more troubling is the decline in the quality and relevance of educational outcomes (see, for example, EPDC Spotlight on Uganda). As a result, communities have little incentive to keep children in school, and those who stay learn few skills to apply what they have learned for the good of the community.

Remaining on the current path will likely result in systemic failure. The proportion of out-of-school children will grow, the skills taught in school will be inadequate and irrelevant, and the efficiency and effectiveness of the money spent will decline.

Our method shifts educational emphasis, broadening traditional academic goals with the development of the skills needed to effectively address real community issues. By adding critical thinking and problem-solving skills, value-based prioritization, greater independence, and self direction to a solid foundation of academic skills, our pedagogy is designed for relevance and lifelong learning.

Our approach sets adolescents on a direct path to relevant and productive careers, effecting desperately needed economic progress within their communities, while exposing and resolving the social issues that are the barriers to progress in the first place: social injustice and exclusion, gender inequity, and poor personal health and well-being.

Our proposal is a partnership between ConnecTeach, and the Menya Zirabanuzale Schools (MZS) in the Iganga district of eastern Uganda. We have worked together before at the WalugogoTeacher Training College, one of the organizations under the MZS umbrella.

Our project will impact 1,300 teachers and 30,000 secondary students from 72 schools in 88 parishes in north and east Iganga.

You can support this project by clicking the “Donate” button or joining our GoFundMe campaign (www.gofundme.com/connecteach4uganda ). Just $5 can go a long way toward reaching our campaign goal. Please share our campaign link with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

By helping us, you help us all. 

Thank you.

 

Bhavani Parpia Honored with Inaugural ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ Award

Bhavani Parpia Honored with Inaugural ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ Award

DALLAS (SMU) — Peruvian champion of indigenous women’s rights Eliana Elias and innovative global-minded local educator Bhavani Parpia will be honored at SMU Nov. 12 as the first two recipients of Embrey Human Rights Program Triumph of the Spirit Awards. The awards carry a combined $30,000 in funding for the recipients made possible by an anonymous supporter of SMU’s undergraduate human rights program.

The inaugural Triumph of the Spirit event will include a 7 p.m. dinner in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom and 6 p.m. courtyard reception. The evening will feature thought-provoking interviews with Elias, Parpia and other human rights leaders, a mix of music and spoken-word performances and a compelling array of mixed-media art by past and present Embrey Human Rights Program students.

Reserved tables and individual tickets for the event are available at various sponsorship levels. For details, visit https://sites.smu.edu/apps/events/triumphofthespirit/tickets.asp or contact 214-768-3241 or kleinb@smu.edu.

The Triumph of the Spirit Awards aim to “reward people doing great work for others, sometimes at great risk to themselves,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin. “The awards represent a microcosm of life-changing work being done locally and around the world on issues affecting everyone. The awards also are meant to give us all hope that change can be made even by small steps of awareness and action.”

Elias and Parpia were selected for Triumph of the Spirit Awards from among several dozen human rights defenders nominated for providing selfless work on behalf of individuals and communities. The award selection committee, comprised of 19 SMU faculty and staff members, University alumni and regional community leaders and activists, chose Elias and Parpia for work best exemplifying the missions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Embrey Human Rights Program.

The Embrey Human Rights Program was created in 2006 as the result of a gift from the Embrey Family Foundation of Dallas. By 2012 SMU would become the fifth university in the nation and the first one west of Ohio to offer an undergraduate human rights degree.

Montessori teacher Bhavani Parpia is founder of the educational nonprofit ConnecTeach, helping underserved communities in South Asia and the Middle East improve the quality of education for hundreds of thousands of children one teacher at a time.

Parpia also serves as district world languages coordinator for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District (HEB ISD), where she develops and oversees Arabic, Chinese and Hindi programs.

Before joining HEB ISD, Parpia founded the Primary School at North Hills Preparatory in Irving. Under her leadership, North Hills was ranked 13th-best performing school in the U.S., and in 2013, she received the World Affairs Council International Educator of the Year award.

Parpia has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hindu College/Delhi University and a master’s degree in sociology from Virginia Tech.

Presenting the regional Triumph of the Spirit Award to Parpia will be S.M. Wright II, president/CEO of the S.M. Wright Foundation, which since 1998 has provided food, financial and social service support to inner-city children and families in need. The South Dallas pastor and civic leader is the son of the late Civil Rights pioneer Rev. S.M. Wright.

Serving as moderator of the Triumph of the Spirit Awards event will be Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders.

Sanders’ reporting work has earned him a regional Emmy Award and also garnered awards from the National Association of Black Journalists; the Houston, New York and Chicago film festivals; the Dallas Press Club; and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Offering creative expressions of music and spoken word will be Will Richey, Alejandro Perez Jr., and David Rodriguez of Journeyman Ink; the eclectic ensemble-in-residence at SMU Meadows School of the Arts Brazen Brass 5 (featuring five SMU students and alumni) and SMU student, opera singer, poet and dancer Maya Jones.

The Triumph of the Spirit Award is an iron elliptical sculpture with concentric rings around a circular core. Each award is engraved with the award winner’s name and the motto of the Embrey Human Rights Program, “There is no such thing as a lesser person.”

“The award symbolizes the interconnected spirit of humanitarians around the world, and that the community effort to work for peace is never-ending,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Assistant Director Bradley Klein. The rings represent different spheres in which such people as women’s rights activists, lawyers, physicians, and those fighting against torture work to uphold human rights.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award. My hope is that it helps bring awareness of our mission of quality education in the world’s poorest communities, as well as to inspire others to action in human rights causes,” said Ms. Parpia.

ConnecTeach is a non-profit organization that provides quality professional development for teachers in underserved schools around the world. Their highly-qualified volunteer educators provide teachers in these schools the tools they need to create stimulating learning environments, including on-site professional development, mentoring and certification in effective teaching practices. ConnecTeach contributes directly to the odds of success in the global fight against poverty by training and supporting teachers dedicated to the success of students in the world’s poorest communities.

How your contribution helps:

How your contribution helps:

Partner with us to help teachers and their students.

Give one or invest monthly. Your support will transform entire communities!

$30 will provide books for a child.

$100 will provide teaching materials for one teacher a year.

$200 will provide classroom materials for 2 teachers.

$300 will provide online training for 2 teachers.

$2,000 will allow teacher leadership training and support for an entire school for a a year.

$4,000 will allow you to adopt a school of 900 students.

Escaped Kony, Embraced Teaching: David’s Story

Escaped Kony, Embraced Teaching: David’s Story

Escaped Kony, Embraced Teaching: David’s Story

Join our Global Giving Campaign

Join our Global Giving Campaign

We have been working fast and furious to launch a district-wide project in Iganga, Uganda. This project will provide leadership training, materials, and support to 1,300 teachers and 30,000 students so that they can have the tools to reduce the rates of HIV/AIDs (which has a current prevalence rate of 15.6%), eliminate domestic violence (which is currently over 70% for ever-married women ages 15-49), and increase the literacy rate (which is at 62% overall and 53% for females).

We have received a huge opportunity to fund this project through a partnership with Global Giving. In order to qualify for membership, we have to show that people are willing to support a project like this through a challenge known as the Accelerator.

If we can raise at least $5000 from 40 donors by June 30, we will be granted a membership, and our project will be featured on their website. Our project will be included in Employee Giving and Corporate Social Responsibility programs run by corporate partners like Microsoft, Ford, and Google. Please go to our Global Giving campaign page to donate and please share the link with friends, family, and colleagues. Just $10 will provide one teacher with classroom teaching and learning materials for one year, and $70 will provide access to our online training course (including much needed internet access) for 50 secondary students.

We can do this! We can give this community the tools and resources to make positive, lasting change happen! Think. Change. Join us!

“Voices from the Field: Education as a Human Right” by Dhara Naik

“Voices from the Field: Education as a Human Right” by Dhara Naik

In this age of development, it was stunning for me to learn that countless children around the world are being denied an education due to their gender, economic status, or they are living in a war torn country. According to UNICEF data, the number of illiterate youths (ages 15-24) is at 115 million, with the most concentrated in the least developed countries and 59% of the illiterate youths being women. Around the world, 91% of youths are literate, but is simply having the ability to read and write equate to education? Learning to read and write is necessary, but should not the goal be bigger than that? In teaching children to simply absorb information and repeat, what will they gain? It is the application, the practice, and the understanding of the “why” and “how” that makes information important. Critical thinking skills are the key to solving the world’s problems; understanding that if children are taught how to think, rather than what to think, is imperative. By doing this, they will gain the skills necessary to improve our communities, countries, and the world. However, if we leave children educationally handicapped, they will not be able to contribute to society, and the issues of poverty, pollution, and violence will continue. This is especially true in regions of the world that are at the highest disadvantage. Providing food aid or money to these regions is simple, but without eliminating the cause of the problems, we are just treating the symptoms rather than attacking the disease.

ConnecTeach is making an effort to treat this disease. By partnering with schools in underprivileged communities, students are learning critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as learning what they can do to help their community. I was able to do my part by talking to students who were sharing their thoughts on the discussion boards in response to these lessons. In the brief time I spent reading and commenting on the students’ discussion posts, it became clear how a few skills and encouragement can give a student the motivation to address problems in their community and take initiative to generate improvements. For example, one student expressed how she made an effort to discourage her uncle from putting his son to work and rather, send him to school. She explained to him that an education was key to his son’s future and by putting him to work, he was depriving his son of the ability to build an improved life for himself. Her belief in the value of education and, additionally, her drive to bring that realization to her uncle, was exciting. With students like her learning how to reason, finding solutions, and implementing what they already know within their own community, it is obvious that a higher education gives a student the ability to change the world. Although this is just one response and one story, if we multiply the access to this kind of education the impact will be clear.

Though my contribution to these students seems small, I was able to encourage and praise students who were putting in great effort despite the challenges they face. My role in ConnecTeach did not require me to put my life on hold, give up my life savings, or put in much commitment. ConnecTeach is one of many organizations committed to promoting education in an effort to cure one of the diseases of the world, but they require support.  If we all create or recognize roles for ourselves, no matter how big or small, the solution will come about more effectively. It is purely a matter of taking responsibility for the future and realizing that, regardless of the conflicts around the world, we will win or lose together.

Empowering children through education and critical thinking skills is the cure to the diseases that are plaguing our world. We all should be remembered for providing the solutions, rather than the problems. Therefore, it is necessary for government officials, students, CEOs, teachers, scientists, parents, and anyone who values the future of their country or their world, to support education, wherever they are and especially in the places that are the most burdened. While the inequalities of the world may not directly affect you or do not seem prevalent in your country, that does not indicate their absence around the world. There are still people living without clean water, sleeping with empty stomachs, and suffering from treatable diseases and the solution to all of these inequalities is EDUCATION.

ConnecTeach Speaker Series: Jolly Okot

ConnecTeach Speaker Series: Jolly Okot

JOLLY OKOT

Activist and Producer of The Rescue: The Story of Joseph Kony’s Child Soldiers

Please join us at ConnecTeach World Headquarters to hear Jolly Okot’s inspiring story.

March 20, 2017, 6 – 8 p.m.

8411, Sterling St., Irving, TX 75063

Donations gratefully accepted.

“The change people want to see
in Africa starts with empowering
women…Education is the vehicle
of hope and the instigator of
lasting change.”
— Jolly Okot

 

Jolly Okot has dedicated her life to improving the lives of women in Northern Uganda.

She believes nothing is more powerful than education and
has shared her inspiring story worldwide—from high school
auditoriums to the oval office, Influencing the lives of all
who listen.

By providing women with employment, empowerment and education, Jolly is giving Northern Uganda the kind of hope that will last for generations upon generations.

The Difference We Make

Usha in Hope Foundation Kannagi Nagar describes how Connecteach has made a difference in her teaching and the lives of her students.

Help ConnecTeach when you shop for back-to-school supplies

Help ConnecTeach when you shop for back-to-school supplies

You can help ConnecTeach when you shop for back-to-school supplies on Amazon. You purchase and Amazon donates. It’s a simple and easy way to help us in our mission of education for all children.

Please support us:

#StartWithaSmile at http://smile.amazon.com/ch/45-3192080 and Amazon donates.

Position Paper: “Early Language and Literacy in India”

Position Paper: “Early Language and Literacy in India”

ConnecTeach recommends EARLY LANGUAGE AND LITERACY IN INDIA, A POSITION PAPER. We are proud and honored to have participated in the development of this document that “will enable policy makers and educators (practitioners and academicians) to develop a set of informed actions based upon the principles of language and literacy development in young children.”

The entire document is available here.

Today is #PrimeDay! #StartWithaSmile and @Amazon donates to Connecteach.

Today is #PrimeDay! #StartWithaSmile and @Amazon donates to Connecteach.

Today is #PrimeDay! #StartWithaSmile and @Amazon donates to Connecteach.

Go to http://amzn.to/29Tx1we

Prime Day-July 12, 2016