Posted by: jamestew | September 13, 2012

Is it all about the numbers?

Is it all about numbers?

Residential students are currently numbering 24, and the number of weekend students have reduced to 150. Initially I was concerned about this drop in numbers, but all will be made clear…

This is because of a number of reasons.
Some of the children have grown up and gained skills, which have enabled them to learn life skills and work skills, enabling them to learn a trade. This is fantastic and part of what Young Hope aimed to do, empowering the Young People and provide a source of skills and income for their futures.

Other children have been reunited with extended families. These children have moved from the area.

There is a level of uncertainty for some. Some of the current children are being registered by the Government, thus being moved away to other communities. If and when, all the children will be registered, and this will put more “red-tape” in the way for the nuns to do what they need to do.

The Government is trying to get the Convent to take on more troubled children. This may change the dynamics of the way things work, but ultimately there is still a huge need for support of thee children, through working parties, fundraising and continual prayer.

The nuns are so inspiring. We were amazed by the energy and commitment they all possess. Sr Arul is passionate about helping her people, and committed to the work. Her day lasts 18hrs, and she has been situated in Nilaveli since 2005. I don’t think I would last on 18hr days for the last 8 years… Amazing.

There may be more need to help other communities further North, but this has only being brought to light on this trip, so it is early days. We will update people as we know more.

Ultimately, the need is still there, and this will possibly never go away, definitely not in the short term, so we have to keep working with the resources we have and support as we can.

The children are currently taught by 5 teachers… This creates a variety of skills for the children to learn. This also allows more focused teacher time for the children as the student numbers are currently 150 at the weekends, whereas in the past it was nearer 400. So despite numbers dropping, the upside is that the quality of education will rise. The residential students benefit more greatly as they receive good ratio teaching during the week too.

We observed a Maths Class and they were being taught algebra. Took me back to my childhood. Mental Arithmatic, yes… Algebra and Equations, now that’s a whole new ball game!
The children were engaged, and seemed to be understanding the formulas. The style of teaching in Sri Lanka is completely different than Europe, but nonetheless, it looked as if the children were benefiting…

So, is it all about numbers?
No… My initial thought were, numbers have dropped, oh no! But speaking to Sr Arul, and seeing how the children are, I was able to see good improvements and have seen results over the years to highlight that what Young Hope is doing, is exactly what it needs to do. Support the current children, whatever the numbers, and we will see progress.

James

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