Preparing for Our Fifth Program

Hello friends!

I am writing you all on the eve of our fifth program as today our head teacher and five veteran group leaders gathered together to begin a three-day training seminar. During this time they will review the upcoming program’s curriculum, write stories and prepare skits to use in the classroom, and participate in teambuilding activities. Then, on Monday, they will welcome our students back into the Ota classroom and engage them in two-weeks of hands-on learning activities.

So what will the focus of this break’s program be? If you remember from last program, many of our students were unable to return as they were preoccupied preparing for Grade 3 national tests. We thus recruited new students and reviewed our first program’s syllabus focusing on the qualities of living and non-living things. This winter we will once again be working mostly with these students who joined us last program, thus we will be using a modified version of our second program’s curriculum, which focuses on the importance of clean air and water.

During this upcoming program, students will learn about how humans use air and water, sources and effects of pollution, and methods to prevent and clean up pollution. Building off of the success of the English lessons Amizade’s university volunteers helped our Ota team build last program, we have also injected English materials into this curriculum. Before exploring scientific themes each morning, the students will first learn basic English phrases – such as expressing favorites and describing classroom objects – and practice them during games, skits, and discussion circles.

This program will be once again be filled with exciting games, experiments, and art projects, and I look forward to sharing news of our students’ learning with you all. First though, I do have some bad news. Unfortunately, our volunteer Allison has had a family emergency and will no longer be able to return to Kayanga to volunteer with us this program. We wish her the best of luck and stand confident that our local team will nonetheless deliver another dynamic program.

Before signing off, I would like to ask you all one last time to make a tax-deductible donation (link at bottom of page) to help us cover the costs of this December’s program. We have still not reached our fundraising goal, so every dollar counts. This weekend we are hosting a fundraiser event in Washington, D.C., where we expect to raise the remaining amount we need. If you are in the D.C. area and are interested in attending, please send an email to and I will send you the details.

Thank you again for your support and stay tuned for more updates.


Best wishes and many thanks,
Rebecca Gailey
The Ota Initiative

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