Thursday, 27 November 2014

So You Want to Teach in Kenya Pt III - Why don't you just pay for it yourself?

So here's the post for those of you who have thought this, but were too scared to ask.

Look, we're totally cool with people thinking this. Why crowd fund when you can work hard and save the money to go over there?

To begin, let's be realistic. Once we are full time teachers, trips like this will no longer be feasible. Not only will we be short on time to go to Kenya, its highly unlikely we will spend our holidays doing our vocation. Teaching is EXHAUSTING. That's the honest truth. These kids rely on people like Lena and I who have not yet started full time teaching and still have the time and the new-teacher energy to embark on this journey.

How did this trip even come about? At the beginning of the year we were not planning to go to Kenya. Halfway through the year, we were not planning to go to Kenya. It wasn't until we were beginning our second round of student teacher placements did Chalkboard Kenya approach University of Melbourne teacher candidates about their project.

I have never thought about travelling to Africa, or at least not anytime in the near future. Something drew me to this project though. I applied, and got in. Lena and I got talking about it and I encouraged her to apply. She got in!

Getting over there is our current challenge. Having been unable to work more than a day a week whilst we tackled the notoriously hectic Master of Teaching meant there was little opportunity to save any dollars this year. In fact, savings accounts dwindled down to $0. This year was about survival; (barely) living off Austudy whilst smashing out assignments and fending off nervous breakdowns along the way.

The biggest challenges lie ahead. In response to someone suggesting that by crowd funding this trip we are 'white people crowd funding our holiday' (which by the way, I won't even address what the colour of our skin has to do with the price of fish), our friend Nick, a new teacher from our course said;

'If you think that teaching classes of students who speak a different language in a place completely unfamiliar to you with limited resources, while experiencing culture shock, and grappling with learning theories and behaviour management strategies in your first year out as a teacher sounds like a holiday, then maybe you should do it too!'

This experience is without a doubt a once in a lifetime opportunity for two new teachers that have an avid interest in the human rights of children, the wellbeing of children and the equal access to a good education that everyone should have despite your social, cultural and economic demographic. But let's not pretend it is going to be anything like a holiday.

We are not asking for you to pay for us to experience Kenya, we are asking you to pay for these children to have access to an education for 5 weeks in January.

We don't expect a free ride. Our planned holidays in 2015 have been cancelled. Clothes, big nights out and any sort of luxuries are now our contraband. We are living as tightly as possible and working as much as possible to earn money to go towards the trip. We still need more help though, and that's where you generous souls come in.

If you agree and want to give a little something to these kids who have already lost so much, show your support! Our crowd funding campaign is here >

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