- About the Program
- Program Focus
- Projects & Initiatives
- A Phenomenal Experience
- "A Life Changing Experience" - Briana Jentzel
- Reflections from Dana Price
The Global Education Research and Development Initiative (GERDI) is a service learning and community outreach program offered by the University of Windsor, Faculty of Education. It provides teacher candidates and graduate students with opportunities to actively participate in meaningful international service learning in a developing world context through an alternative practicum.
Please visit our website at www.teachersfortanzania.com.
GERDI focuses on the problem of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in the East African country, the Republic of Tanzania. Currently the project focuses on children of the Kititimo Center for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in the town of Singida. The project also involves working with two primary and three secondary schools. We also work with the O’Brien School for the Maasai in Kilimanjaro.
- Teaching in local schools
- Tutoring at the Kititimo Center for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children
- Tuition support for Secondary School students
- Providing food, clothes and other basic daily needs
- Purchasing of mosquito nets
- Screening dormitory windows
- Purchasing mattresses and bed linen
- Painting of dormitories
- Purchasing livestock and poultry
- Enhancing sanitary conveniences
- Building water tower
- Repairing desks and other furniture
- Building facilities for safe storage of food
- Providing school uniforms for children at Kititimo Children’s Center
- Purchasing school supplies, textbooks, and book shelves for the Kititimo
- Donating teaching kits to local schools
Faculty of Education alumni who have participated in the GERDI have formed a group called Teachers for
Tanzania. This group maintains contact with the children in Tanzania and engages in fundraising for the project
Teacher candidates will receive more information about this exciting opportunity through information sessions
which will be held at the Faculty of Education during orientation. However, if you wish to learn more about the project, please visit our website at www.teachersfortanzania.com.
The Faculty of Education provides a unique experience for its Bachelor of Education students and grads - the opportunity to travel to Tanzania East Africa and be involved with the Global Education, Research and Development Initiative through “Teachers for Tanzania.” Graduates and teacher candidates traveling to Tanzania implement projects focusing on children of the Kititimo Centre for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in the town of Singida. The project also involves working with two primary and three secondary schools as well as the O’Brien School for the Maasai in Kilimanjaro. The group raised more than $15,000 this year, which was used to undertake educational projects and initiatives in Tanzania. Participants have the opportunity to teach in local schools and tutor at the Kititimo Centre for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. Money raised is used for tuition support for Secondary School students in Tanzania, as well as provision of school supplies, clothes, food, and other basic daily needs. Funding is also used for livestock and poultry, enhancing sanitary conveniences, building water towers and facilities for safe storage of food, purchasing textbooks, school uniforms, and bookshelves for the Kititimo Centre, and donating supplies for science labs, students’ desks and teaching kits to local schools. This year, the group, lead by associate professors Clinton Beckford and Andrew Allen, left for a 17-day trip at the end of April to work with the orphaned children. Upon returning, members of the group felt inspired by their rewarding experiences and said they are eager to share their experiences and to encourage others to consider looking into “Teachers for Tanzania.”
The people of Tanzania created a welcoming environment and were extremely appreciative of the support the University of Windsor group provided. Cole Parent, a trip member, found himself feeling welcome and comfortable in the community. “From a person who travels quite often, I can easily say Tanzania was the most beautiful and welcoming country I have ever been to. Every single person says hello and welcomes you. This has taught me how important it is to make every person comfortable whether that is in the classroom, my community or country. They are selfless and giving. They accepted us and welcomed us in their homes. We were considered family and were trusted as soon as we arrived. I have learned that regardless of any situation I find myself in, I can be more selfless and giving because I was given great role models.” Patricia Thompson noted the feeling of being appreciated by the community as an educator. “The students in Tanzania have a deep and sincere appreciation for Canadian teachers. The value felt while teaching these children, inspired me to continue to develop my skills as an educator, and open the eyes to the beauty of the city of Singida, the country of Tanzania, and the continent of Africa.”
Several group members found that the way of life, the country itself, and the people, presented new and unique experiences. Colin O’Gorman found himself immersed in a new culture where the opportunity to become part of the community left him with a different perspective on life. “Not only is this country beautiful, but the people we met, even just in the market or on the streets, are the most welcoming and happy people I have ever met in my life. They live with so little, but truly have an appreciation for life. Team 6 traveled to a city called Moshi, where we were able to meet a Maasai community and were all incorporated into a traditional Maasai welcome ceremony, as well as given a tour of their community and homes. Once we arrived in Singida, we traveled to the Kititimo Centre, a centre for vulnerable and orphaned children, ranging from the ages of 5-23. These children welcomed us with open arms. Being able to see true happiness through simply looking into their eyes was life changing.”
The teaching experience gained in Tanzania is one that provides participants with an opportunity to develop unique skills. Cole Parent notes an increase in his confidence level. “Teaching in the schools has given me confidence beyond what I could ever imagine. Before I left I was very confident in front of the classroom, but now that I have taught in both elementary and secondary schools from preschool to grade 12 and from English to Physics, I feel I can adapt in any classroom in any country in the world. This may seem like a very lofty claim but when you cannot communicate in your native tongue and you have to use many different methods of instruction to implement lessons and activities you gain a strong sense of confidence in anything you teach.” Colin O’Gorman highlights how teaching in Tanzania allowed him to gain a unique experience that is directly related to his learning at the University of Windsor. “The Faculty of Education puts such a large emphasis on diversification, differentiated instruction, scaffolding, and multiple intelligences, it should be essential for every student who spends a year at the Faculty of Education to have an experience like the experience I had, or at least similar.”
Praising a chance to open their eyes to a different view of education, Windsor teachers discovered the importance of education, community, and supporting those in need. Cole Parent feels he has found his second home and plans to return. “I have learned to be an advocate for all children throughout the world. I have learned that many children face a cycle of failure in their personal and educational lives and this needs to be changed. I have learned that education should inspire hope, dreams, and a positive attitude. Tanzania now feels like a second home and I can guarantee I will return as soon as possible.” This experience will be drawn upon as Thompson, Parent, and O’Gorman begin their teaching careers and they are thankful to the University of Windsor and the faculty for the opportunity. “I will treasure this trip for a lifetime, and I wish many more of my fellow teacher candidates could have had the same experience, as it has dramatically influenced my views on the value of education and being a quality educator” (Patricia Thompson).
I was drawn to this opportunity because I wanted it to change me; change me as a citizen, an educator, a mentor, and since returning I can firmly state that I am a changed person! I no longer look at things the same way; education is not only a right but a privilege, families are built on love not on tradition, and hope is something that comes from the inside, an essence that cannot be affected by the environment in those who are strong. As a newly hired teacher, I remind my students that in Tanzania, if you do not pass your grade 7 exam on the first try, you are not allowed to attend high school, so that they should feel privileged. As a Big Sister, I am reminded that love and happiness does not necessarily come from the “nuclear family” but from a supportive group of individuals who work together. I can now never forget the hope I saw in the eyes of those children at Kititimo, who have suffered greatly, and yet still manage to have a smile on their faces, a fact which keeps me smiling and hoping through all trials and tribulations. I miss them greatly and can only hope that more people will have the experience of meeting such inspirational children and young adults".
These children will open your hearts, your minds, your soul and your perceptions of life itself. You will empower them with hope, as they will empower you with courage and compassion. Encourage them to believe in their dreams, as from the moment you meet them, your dreams will have become a reality. Allow yourself to give everything you have to these children, for they would give you ten times more! Open your minds...everyone will be changed forever. Team Singida for life!