All posts tagged: community

Port-Au-Prince five years on: the road to recovery

I have a strange and accidental habit of visiting the sites of major disasters. In 2005 I went to Sri Lanka, just six months after its coasts were desecrated by the tsunami. In 2011, I spent a week in Christchurch, New Zealand not long after the town was completely destroyed by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. And this year, Haiti was chosen as part of my Global Giving field evaluation itinerary, five years after it lost nearly 100,000 lives to an earthquake of its own. I also had the great opportunity earlier this year to be able to work at the offices of the Disasters Emergency Committee in London, supporting them with social media as they launched the Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Although I may have been close to disaster sites in the past, this was the first time I was able to see the relief effort first hand, from the incredible outpouring of generosity from those across the world to the amazing life-saving work taking place out in the field. But what was so interesting about the …

The gift of English: inspiring teens through teaching

We’re so very fortunate in the UK to be handed the shining gift of the English language from our early years. This advantage has never been more evident as I’m introduced to Chema, a young teen who’s just finished a two year English course at one of Fundación Proaccesso’s community learning centres on the outskirts of Mexico City. His proud teacher Hector has pulled him into our intimidating presence, and nods encouragement as Chema self-consciously joins our conversation in the new language.  To him, he explains, English has been life-changing. It opens up so many opportunities for his future. Such has been his experience on the course and the understanding of the opportunities English can create, it’s inspired him to teach, joining with four other students to lead summer classes in English and a variety of other subjects to kids in the community. Completely voluntarily. We watch him return to the classroom where the first lesson of this course is being taught and already sounds like a riotous success. Hector is visibly moved. He explains …

Glossophobia and an inauguration: community education through technology in Mexico City

I’m not entirely sure, but I think I may have been on Mexican national television last week. On my second day as a Field Evaluator, little did I think I would be giving a speech on behalf of Global Giving UK at a much anticipated launch event. But there we were, jet lagged and barely recovered from our ludicrous journey, standing alongside a representative from Nokia at the official opening of the Makers Lab, cameras winking expectantly at us from around the room. The lab is a new space in a low income community just outside of Mexico City, designed for young people to innovate and create with the latest cutting-edge inventions. When we arrive, we’re given a key-ring made with a laser cutter, a small plastic rocket fresh from the 3D printer and shown a musical instrument made from floppy discs, which dutifully plays us the Star Wars theme tune. The machines are exhibited with relish by a grinning band of teenagers, each technical aspect explained in rapid Spanish. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and …