Building My Platform For Yaarah Schools

Adizah Tejani, a former volunteer on overseas programme Platform2, reflects upon a busy month (and year) working for global development; from P2 to her contribution for Yaarah Schools…

As September drew to a close I took a step back to reflect upon a busy month and year. One thing that has tied together all my experiences is education…

Raising £900 to help provide a learning lifeline to children in village schools through Yaarah Schools, helping raise awareness of the MDG goals through a video that ended up having world-wide coverage and finally meeting Nick Clegg and Andrew Mitchell, to prove that there are young people who do care about development issues!

Firstly let’s start with Yaarah Schools. Yaarah Schools is a project that was set up in order to help improve the educational prospects of children in villages, by providing them with a learning lifeline. We have started in Adaklu Aziedukope Ghana.

The inability of government to provide all schools with adequate buildings led to the pursuit for a sustainable solution. A year ago I was in Kasapin, Ghana due to P2. Even though I was not at the Yaarah Schools project, my P2 experience allowed me to have a better understanding of the education system. I taught in the government school, and I split my teaching of current affairs between two classes of 14 to 18 year olds. There were about 60 students in one class and 40 in another. This was by no means an easy task to handle, but I embraced the challenge even though the teaching resources were minimal.

These children were lucky enough to have a classroom. Imagine trying to teach 60 14-16 year olds with minimal resources. The resources I had brought with me were a copy of the DFID mag, The Economist and some chalk. This experience made me understand how well resourced the education system in the UK actually is. In this day and age where education is viewed as fundamental in shaping one’s mind, and being an MDG goal, it is a shame that due to the context of a person’s situation they may not be able to have knowledge due to having inadequate classroom facilities.

So last October (2009), I arrived back home to finish my degree in International Development. I was further inspired to have a positive impact and Yaraah Schools was a way in which I felt I could do this. In the past year the team have raised over £5000 in a range of ways; from cake sales in Norwich, jewellery sales in Manchester and a fantastic cultural event called Fusionite in the heart of London.

Fusionite took place a few weeks ago, on September 6 at Avalon in Shoreditch. We had spent the whole summer bringing together musicians, designers, models and poets in preparation for a great night. However, in true London style the week before the event, it was announced that there would be a tube strike on the same day of the show… Yes, this made me really angry and annoyed; yet I knew that we had to push ahead with the show. In the end it was a great night and the Yaarah Schools team rose £900!

All the organising of rehearsals, calling acts, finding a venue and sorting out great food all worked out. And just a week ago two team members went out to build the next classrooms – check them out here.

Without my Platform2 experience I would not have been able to gain a deeper understanding of how the education system in Ghana works. So volunteering and fundraising for Yaarah Schools has led me to have a stronger belief that change is possible.

As posted on Ctrl Alt Shift

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4u64c7Ux8E&feature=channel]

Yaarah Schools presents FUSIONITE!!!

Calling Ladies, Gentlemen and Everything in between!!!!

Spend a dazzling night filled with an eclectic mix of fashion, music, fun and more in the City’s hub of creativity at the exclusive Avalon venue!!!!

Support up and coming talent from the UK and across the globe in a wonderful showcase.

Get tickets @ Club Tickets , as there are only a few days till the show!!

Nothing to do this summer? ……………Why not volunteer.

As summer approaches there are many students looking for something to do with their time. With many of us struggling to find a job an alternative is to volunteer or be an intern. I have been volunteering for a while with many different types of organisations.

It began with Orange RockCrops in 2008 where the concept is that you volunteer for four hours and in return Orange will give you a concert ticket at the great Royal Albert Hall. Since then the idea has grown and so has the support with the likes of Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog and Tiny Tempah all showing their support. Click here for Orange RockCorps, Give and Get given.

Next in my volunteer journey was Platform 2. This was an experience that allowed me to go away for 10 weeks to volunteer in Kasapin, Ghana. I had an amazing time and learnt so much about another aspect of volunteering. It was a fully funded volunteer scheme, funded by the Department of International Development and run by Christian Aid and BUNAC. Since coming back I have been given the platform to express my experience in a range of ways from writing in my university newspaper to giving talks at a range of events. Platform 2 is still going on so click here to find out how you can also take part.


Next was Oxfam and the East London Campaigns Group. I thought it would be good to do something a bit more local. So I join the East London Campaigns Group. I love the flexibility of helping out where I can which let volunteering fit around me. Yaarah Schools is another way I involve myself in volunteering as it is a charitable cause that is helping improve the learning of children in villages around the world.

Overall, I am an exception to the rule as I have my fingers in many different aspects of volunteering. Yet this has allowed me to learn so much and also boost so many different skills. In this economic climate volunteering is one way of put yourself out there, showing a different aspect that you have to give. Employers would rather have an active person who is well rounded and volunteering helps do this. So enjoy and get involved this summer :).

DFID, OXFAM & AID

Yesterday, I attended the speech of Andrew Mitchell at Oxfam’s 21st Century Aid report launch event, at the Royal Society in London. Here is a link to some of his main points. He also answered some of the questions posed to him by OXFAM supporters. One of which was my own focused on awareness raising. My concern was about who is expected to fill the gap and continue in increasing the knowledge of the British public regarding understanding development issues in a holistic way? Is it not the governments role to help improve knowledge through effective awareness raising to increase the understanding of where tax payers money is going and being spent? £55,000 has been cut from music stalls at festivals, this is an avenue for many young people to get a better understanding of development issues, which is equally as important for a holistic approach to aid and development. Here is his response:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuaZD6bgw0A&feature=player_embedded]

Development awareness is important. It was a DFID scheme Platform 2 which helps increase awareness that allowed me to get a better understanding of development issues first hand. It is important that something fills the gap for awareness raising as how is the tax payer meant to understand where their money is going without the information and knowledge to do so properly.

OXFAM Tea Party

We all know that a lot of hip people are moving east these days. Well Oxfam have set up an East London Oxfam Campaigning Group in order to foster more involvement in the loving East End. Come along to the Tea Party on the 6th of June at Tina We Salute You @ 5-8pm and have some cake and tea and soak up the fun atmosphere. See you there!!!

p.s The next meeting will be on Monday 14 June from 7-8pm at the Gallery Cafe in

Bethnal Green.

DCSF and DWP Social Club Event

On the 9th of December from 5 pm -9 pm the Department for Children, Schools and Families along with the Department for Work and Pensions Social Club, hosted a charity event for Yaarah Schools. This was held along side their regular quiz night. With the great help of the social club staff and the committee members of Yaarah School money was raised through, a raffle, a tombola, bar change and the selling of African Jewellery. The social club allowed us to have a round within the quiz looking at aspects of Ghana, in order to help gain interest in Yaarah Schools. Below are some of the pictures from the amazing night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall £510 was raised over the night. Thank you to all that helped make the night a success and no doubt there will be another one soon!

Progress

The logo for Yaarah School was finalised while I was away in Ghana. Thanks to the great efforts of the team we now have a visual representation. The progress being made has been rapid. Currently I am in the process of writing an article for the UEA Student Union newspaper Concrete, if should be published on the 1st of December hopefully. I will focus on my Platform2 experience as well as that Yaarah schools is about.

I am also doing a cake sale at the union cafe (HIVE) with the help of some friends. I hope to raise  of money for Yaarah schools and also help to publicize about what it is a bit more.

Things are coming together bit by bit and with the effort of all the committee we will achieve out ultimate aims and goals.

Here is the link to the website: http://www.yaarahschools.org/ it is a work in progress. I also have some information on here on the YAARAH SCHOOLS tab 🙂

Adizah 🙂