Spring 2016 Issue II - Volunteer Day at Batlang Education Centre
Spring '16 at Batlang Support Group Volunteer Day
When we take a look back at the semester in retrospect, it is often the days we forget our individualistic needs and look at what is happening around us that resolve in being the most meaningful. Like all places, there are sectors within the community that could use a just a little push to get through. CIEE Gaborone makes it a point to seek out an organization within the community each semester to give a helping hand. The aim of this semester's volunteer day was to try and help improve the learning environment for the children at Batlang. We coordinated a volunteer day that encompassed various activities such as cleaning, painting, fun games and a minimal book and food donation.
Here's what's in this issue:
Batlang Support Group was founded in 2003 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that was affecting the residents of Mogoditshane, a village located on the outskirts of Gaborone. Batlang has grown immensely since it opened. The group first begun as a feeding center for orphans and vulnerable children in and around the area and later expanded their services to include abstinence awareness and behavior change in local schools, as well as providing, care and support for those who need it most.
Currently, a full-time pre-school/kindergarten for over 60 children aged 2-6 years is facilitated by staff volunteers . Additionally, members of staff extend this hand to a local junior school by teaching life skills at the Mogoditshane Community Junior Secondary School to assist adolescents with everyday challenges. Like most non profit organizations, small donations can go a long way. We decided to support them by
lending a helping hand.
On Saturday 27th February, the CIEE Gaborone students arrived bright and early at 8 am, to get the ball rolling. The day was spear headed by our two student volunteers Luisure and Keya, along with a committee they had formed, who did an outstanding job planning and managing the CIEE team before and upon arrival at Batlang Support Group. The CIEE students, staff and volunteers had been strategically split into a kitchen crew, two painting crews, a couple handy men (well, mostly women) and of coarse a cleaning crew.
The first order of the day, was painting! Overall, the surroundings were run-off-the-mill and our team hoped to liven up the surroundings by painting in and around the center. The murals were to create a more educative space in order to escalate student attentiveness and a more educative enviroment. Take a look at some photos below:
Jake & Justin were some of our favorite painters!
The finished product was just amazing! (check out those tyres, super awesome!)
Our students and volunteers along with the help of some locals from the community also took some time to refurbish a few of the tables used at Batlang. They added wonderful color to the classrooms and really made an impactful change; check out some scenes of the process and end product:
Nina, Keya and some locals from the community working on the tables
Jake did a superb job painting!
The end product was amazing and made such a difference to the classroom! What a superb job!
The rest of our painting crew did an awesome job within the center. They drew alphabets, numbers, dinosaurs and days of the week in the student rooms. They were impressively resourceful and the rooms looked bright and cosy!
Eliza painted a beautiful garden in the students classroom
In one of the rooms, Akira, Eliza and Madison created a fantastic tree and recruited a few little special helpers to assist them with their wall painting. It was such an amazing contribution and the toddlers of Batlang took part in creating something meaningful that will resonate with them and all those to follow!
The toddlers of Batlang making the leaves of the tree with their hand prints!
The hefty cleaning crew graciously took care of the rest rooms, sick bay and play areas so as leave a spotless environment for everyone to enjoy. A few of our students put up new curtain rails and curtains around the center to brighten up the place. We also added some bag hangers in the common room to help with space and organization.
The volunteers getting the curtains ready!
Whilst the painting and cleaning was under way, our kitchen crew was swiftly preparing for the young members of Batlang to arrive. They made hotdogs, and juice and topped it off with fruit and snacks. The CIEE crew sat amongst the children and enjoyed the mini brunch.
After brunch, all the students of Batlang sat in a circle and taught our team some fun Tswana games, which included their own version of duck duck goose.
Playing duck duck goose !
The day was a total success! CIEE Gaborone is proud to give back to such a great organization, and to support Batlang's vision. The CIEE crew donated a few items to the centre, including books, crayons, craft supplies and some non perishable food stuff! Moving forward we hope to to continue the wonderful partnership established between Batlang Support Group and CIEE Gaborone. Till next time, Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!