local partners talk about our volunteers

By Kate Stefanko. Filed in local partners, people and places partners, project news, volunteer stories  |  
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We love hearing from local partners about our volunteers and their work … below are some recent updates from Treak in Cambodia and Hazyview in South Africa.

First of all, here’s a brief synopsis of the varied skills and experience they brought to their projects and placements: Chris, Paul & Lynne worked in Treak and Katherine in Hazyview.

Chris has worked for years in engineering and other practical projects, in the UK and overseas, as well as having coaching & training qualifications for his voluntary work with young people.

Husband and wife, Paul and Lynne, worked in the same community as Chris, though their own placements focused on their teaching skills in their own specialist subjects.

Katherine has a background in business and project management as well as being a trained counsellor.

You can read more about their various projects in the website
education & community support in Treak, Cambodia
business development support for young adults, Hazyview, South Africa

Chris with teachers Chhlat & Chhuer

Find out what our local partners say …Chris has been working on a few special projects as well as helping in some of the English classes.

Salin, the project manager, asked him to make a scale model of the school, which can be displayed in the visitor centre and also used as part of the geography sessions for the children.  He has spent large amounts of time on this, often doing extra hours.  The staff have been fascinated to see the model and have learned a lot about such things as making things to scale and using a variety of materials to create realistic representations of full sized buildings.

Chris has also been working on improving the processes used when making the bricks from recycled waste plastic.  He produced a very useful technical report yesterday.

Chris just quietly gets on with his work, often going to school at the weekend and doing extra tasks.  He is very popular with the staff, who have great respect for him and his expertise.  He is flexible, and always concerned that the work he does is what the staff want, and also does things that will be useful after he leaves.

Paul and Lynne have also been spending some of their time in the English classes, in addition to their work in their specialist areas.

Happy Birthday, Lynne

Paul has been using his IT background to review the computer classes at school.  He has suggested improvements to the content though he was very impressed by the classes being delivered by the Cambodian IT teacher.  He’s also reviewing the system of storing materials at school, which have become scattered across several machines.  He is bringing all the material into one location and renaming files as necessary to help with locating them by the staff.  He is also setting up a system to back up the work onto an external hard drive.

Lynne has produced some learning materials for the science programme on subjects such as the water cycle and the life cycle of a butterfly.  She has hit the appropriate level very well, (volunteers often produce lessons that are too complex and assume too high a level of prior knowledge amongst the students).  She has also been working in a very challenging class in the afternoons, which has over 40 very boisterous children of varying abilities.  She has been taking small groups of children aside and working with them in a more focussed way.  She has also been sharing some classroom management techniques with the Cambodian teacher.

All 3 volunteers are extremely hard working and have excellent working relationships with the staff.  In addition they seem to be enjoying their time at Treak.

Katherine was an exceptional volunteer and made a huge impact at GWF during her time with us. I worked closely with her. Largely due to her incredible work ethic and huge experience we now have a new curriculum/programme for the Bridging Year Academy which has as the outcome – six, year long, modules which will equip the students either for further study or with skills which will take them into the job market.

Katherine also found time to work with us to train staff on the facilitation of all modules. What Katherine was involved with is core to the success of ensuring young people in rural SA are equipped with skills and have access to education relevant to the times we live in.

I personally, and I speak for many members of staff, felt privileged to work alongside her . We enjoyed her company and her wonderful sense of humour. She was open to learning about our context and exploring the local area.

We all still miss her and I would like to thank People and Places for identifying “such good fit” volunteers for us.

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