"If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children."

~Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Peace Education Workshop

Summer 2010 will bring another opportunity for several people to make a connection in Liberia, and an opportunity for me to re-connect with my brothers and sisters there. The Illinois United Methodist conference will be taking a teacher training trip this summer to Liberia. A group of teachers will be completing training on teaching literacy (phonics, reading, English), while I plan on completing training on peace education. I will be partnering with the Human Rights Monitor to ensure that the workshops are culturally relevant, and will be training the teachers at Hope for the Deaf on peace education theory and curriculum. After the workshops with HRM and the teachers, I am expecting the teachers to teach a small group of the older students at the school, and finally the students leading the younger ones in activities of peace. Essentially, the learners become the teachers.

As a nation, Liberia faces a large shortage in professionally trained teachers, especially teachers who are trained to teach students with disabilities. It is also facing an overload of older students who are still in lower grade levels due to the war cutting off their education for several years. Teacher training is an apparent need, and the teachers are desperate for it.

Not only is teacher training a need, a direct teaching of peace (human rights, equality, conflict resolution) is needed as well, especially for students who are Deaf, who may be cut off from national dialogue on peace and reconciliation and who still face severe inequality.

It is my hope to provide manuals/packets to the trainees that contain documents/articles relevant to peace education, as well as lesson plans that can be used throughout the school year. I also would like to provide a small meal (the only meal they have that day) during the workshop, as well as certificates after. Other resources (travel in-country, pens, markers, paper pad, etc) are needed as well.

As much as I would like to say that I can do this all on my own, I can't. To provide these important resources, I need your help. My estimate of cost is $1,250. If only 125 people give $10, we can meet it easily. I know there are many other opportunities to give to different causes, but if you feel that this is a project you can give towards, I know many Liberians (as well as myself) that will be forever grateful.

If you would like to give, please see the "Chip In" button at the side, and look forward to further information about the peace education project as well as the teacher training trip. Also, if you are a teacher and are interested in going, please let me know.

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