Children are constantly learning. In school, they acquire skills like reading, writing, and math, but they also learn other lessons — how to resolve conflicts, how to be leaders, how to cope with adversity, and how to become strong, resourceful adults. They come out with a broader understanding of the world, and the confidence to feel like they can make an impact in it.
Children also learn from trauma. They can learn hopelessness, helplessness, anger, and despair. And with the severe shortage of educational opportunities in refugee camps and impoverished communities around the world, too many children never get the chance to learn how to overcome the tremendous obstacles they face.
Refugee children and children in impoverished communities have too many opportunities for those types of lessons. Many have already been traumatized by hunger, illness, and the deaths of loved ones. Many have witnessed violent conflicts in their homes, and suffered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. These children are at risk of carrying that trauma through to future generations.
Children in refugee camps and impoverished communities need education that addresses both their emotional needs and their scholastic and intellectual needs — and they need it now.
Unfortunately, there is no easy fix. Resources are scarce for nonprofits, and volunteers are in short supply, but children can’t afford to wait until that situation changes. The solution is a successful emergency education program that is:
- Able to reach many impoverished and refugee children at no cost
- Capable of being rapidly deployed with limited volunteers or other resources
- Self-sustaining, without the need for expert teachers or an educator with permanent presence in refugee camps and communities
- Designed to balance the emotional and educational needs of at-risk children
- Created in the native languages of host communities, with respect for their respective cultures
The Global Schoolhouse Initiative (GSI) is that solution. One Global Schoolhouse (patent pending) provides free emergency education for refugee and impoverished children in their current situation
Our K-8 curriculum has been designed by an international team of educators, combining content-based themes with social and emotional themes to help at-risk children cope with the harsh realities of their daily lives, and learn to thrive.
Lessons are built around globally relevant topics, combined with social/emotional themes designed to help students cope with hardships. Every lesson is built to be culturally relevant and sensitive — meaning that students grow within their culture, not away from it.
And we do all of this without the need for a permanent volunteer presence or on-the-ground educators, and at no cost to partner organizations or refugee communities.
The GSI program begins when we make contact with a volunteer within a community, such as an adult or adolescent refugee, or a volunteer from an NGO. The volunteer needs no educational training — our program is built around scripted classes which anyone can teach with just ten minutes of training. Our team also provides all the materials volunteers need, including a laptop and projector, a server and router to obtain content updates, and housing to safely store the equipment.
In just one hour a day, the community volunteer can educate dozens of children, either in a single grade or in a blended environment. Our lessons are designed to accommodate a full range of learning levels, with both “Support” sections for students who need extra help, and “Stretch” sections to challenge advanced students. Lessons combine written scripts and engaging audio-visual presentations, ensuring even children who have been out of school for years can understand and learn.