Friends of Mombasa Children ~ Joanna Harper
For a number of years I’ve been a volunteer working with and supporting a UK based charity that helps street children and children from very poor families living in a slum area of Mombasa, Kenya. Friends of Mombasa Children. (FOMC)
You may not know, but that in Kenyan state schools there can be 100 pupils per Teacher and it’s very difficult for the Teachers to be able to deal with individual needs of children. If a child is even able to get to school they may struggle in the environment without additional support. Many children feel that they are stupid, that they are not worth anything and they end up leaving school with a very poor standard of education and little hope for their future.
My wish and aim is that kids from deprived backgrounds get what they need to be able to have hope for their future and to have the same opportunities as children born in more fortunate circumstances.
The charity (FOMC) supports a private school that helps street children in Mombasa who are often the poorest and most vulnerable. The school provides education, protection, a place of safety, a daily meal for them, gives access to medical care and trains some life skills to help them manage better in life.
The Teachers and Managers of the school have been very keen to learn what they can to help achieve more with limited teaching resources they have. As I am an NLP trainer, (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and passionate about helping children gain hope. I have been ideally placed to pass on my knowledge and skills which has helped in the following ways:
Many of the Teachers were unaware that people have different learning styles. For example some children are very visual processors and if you ask them a question they may look up into the sky when they are naturally processing and formulating their answer. If a teacher doesn’t know this, they could think the child is being naughty by not looking at them and punish them. Other children may need to block out what they see in order to process and they prefer to talk to them self before answering. These are just two of the learning preferences. When a Teacher understands the differences they can adapt their teaching so children more understand and learn more easily.
I have also been able to teach the Teachers about the impact of language and the power of beliefs. This is a very key concept in the field of NLP. The way they experience things can have a huge impact on how children think about themselves and what they believe is possible for them in their life.
Sadly, many children who become labeled as stupid or who think of themselves as the poorest and the least important in society end up growing up and leaving school with very little confidence or hope. When teachers understand the impact of the words they use with children, they can create a positive impact rather than a negative and develop the children’s sense of worth.
I have visited the school for ten days twice in January 2017 and January 2018 and plan to return in 2019. The first time I observed and taught lessons and ran some NLP workshops for the very hardworking teachers once I had an idea of how it could add value and enhance what they are already doing.
The second time I went to do specific NLP for Teachers and Educators Training, a program I wrote specifically for them.
We were able to arrange training for two days where the school closed and the teachers were able to come and learn together for the first time. They found it incredibly beneficial when I shared different ways that Individuals, Departments and Teams and subject Heads could communicate to share their knowledge and work together better for the greater good of the school and the pupils.
Another NLP influenced project that I am continuing to help with via WhatsApp is sending ideas and resources to help the children improve their creative writing in English.
What would be considered by many in the UK as out dated teaching methods rely in kids repeating answers Parrot fashion rather than thinking for themselves. NLP and independent thinking helps children to be more equipped to survive, develop and think for themselves when they leave school and have to fend for themselves.
Teachers can now recognise when children really are genuinely processing information and can also adapt their teaching methods if learners are struggling with a topic or concept.
The Teachers are now increasingly teaching in ways that the children learn. So, that the children have a to learn according to their preferred learning styles and experience a variety of teaching methods. I’ve been able to teach NLP skills and methods to educate the Teachers and the impact of this has been beneficial in a number of ways. It has given the Teachers an opportunity to develop their skills and know there are a number of ways they can enhance their teaching and the children’s learning experience with NLP.
Beyond this NLP can be used to improve behavior, understanding, communication and well being for the Teachers and Pupils of the school. I plan to work more with the children directly on my next trip.
The success of this program has brought attention from other school’s who would like the same opportunity to learn NLP and apply it to their teaching.
I am continuing to develop NLP material and explore ways that this project can continue and be replicated in other schools who educate children in the most need. Since returning I have also developed the NLP program further and gained Association for NLP (ANLP) Accreditation for it. This adds an independent quality seal to NLP for Teachers and Educators training course.
I hope this gives you an understanding of what has been done so far and our aspirations for the future so the project is ongoing and continues to be beneficial.
Click here for a link to the Friends of Mombasa Children Charity website and Facebook page where you can find out more about the school and work that is ongoing beyond my personal project with NLP. All of the charity Trustees are volunteers, this ensures every donation goes to help the children and school directly.
Help us make a difference by donating, every pound donated is carefully spent where it is needed most.
Permanent buildings for boys and girls toilets and five classrooms are currently being built, equipped and furnished. We need your help to raise funds to finish building 5 more Classrooms.
~ Joanna Harper NLP Trainer and Associate Trustee for FOMC Charity
Virgin Just Giving Page
Charity Facebook Page