The new Project Trust volunteers have been in Zithulele for about a month, with 10 months to go! We are grateful for this partnership with Project Trust, which keeps fresh, new energy coming in and ensures us four helping hands at Masakhane Maths year-round. Welcome, Georgie and Bethan!
So, we’re a month in to your time in Zithulele, and it feels like a whole lot longer! First things first, tell us a little about yourselves… Where are you from?
Bethan – I am originally from the north east of Scotland but recently I am from a small town in rural Buckinghamshire called Steeple Claydon.
Georgie – I am from a little rural village called Ickleton in South Cambridge in England. It is so pretty and I love living there!
What makes you tick?
Bethan – I find that beautiful poetry inspires me for example Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, I also love looking at landscapes.
Georgie – Inspiring conversations with people, beautiful places and amazing food!
Why a Project Trust Gap Year?
Bethan – I wanted to see a part of the world I had never experienced before and I wanted to help people whilst doing it. Project Trust gave me the opportunity to become part of a community in a new country and to help people whilst I was there, so for me it felt perfect.
Georgie – A year out between School and University had always been in the back of mind and I knew I wanted to travel and volunteer somewhere in the world. Whilst attending one of the best sixth form colleges in my country I realised I already had something to offer the education system. Project Trust has given me the opportunity to volunteer for a whole year, much longer than many organisations allow! I hope my time will not only have a positive impact on my own growth, but other peoples as well.
And why did you choose to get involved in an education programme?
Bethan – I love maths and I believe that if you want to help kids develop an education that will help them in the working world, knowing maths is a vital skill. So when I was asked what I wanted to do whilst overseas, the obvious answer to me was to teach maths because I believe it is what will help people the most.
Georgie – An education programme will allow my enthusiasm for teaching to enable those I teach to do the same, and in so doing, contribute towards a sustainable education system that I hope will continue long after I have left. I believe as adults we have a lot to teach children, however children have a lot to teach adults, making my year in South Africa a mutualistic experience.
Bethan, what have you most enjoyed about the work you’ve been doing at Axium so far?
I have loved teaching in small groups and doing outside maths games because these are the places where you can see the kids begin to get what you are trying to teach and have fun whilst learning maths, which is amazing.
Georgie, any particular highlights for you?
The kids! At Boot Camp I decided to add in some more creative aspects to Maths and it is amazing what the kids create. We stencilled out an elephant and the kids created a colourful array of 2D and 3D shapes cut out from coloured paper and magazines. It was a masterpiece even though it keeps falling off the wall in the community centre!
Bethan, what are the Top Two challenges you’ve faced since you started here?
I have found teaching kids when you can see the range in ability and trying to cater to all of their different needs very difficult. I also found visiting some of the schools difficult because I saw what could be done to help and make things better for the kids to learn but couldn’t see how to bring them up without saying something wrong. I found that particularly hard.
Georgie, what do you hope to learn through your time with Axium?
I hope to develop skills in many areas. In particular, my ability to convey ideas and principles of maths to the learners and also become a more effective and efficient team member within Axium.
Bethan, if you could choose a superpower to have for your time in Zithulele, what would it be, and what would you use it for?
To be able to implant knowledge into someone’s brain and for them to understand the knowledge which you implant. I would use my power, very obviously, to implant all the knowledge the kids need to know and understand maths, and I would implant the English language into their brains, and isiXhosa into mine as well – so that they can understand my teaching, and we can understand each other!
Georgie, if you could give 5-Weeks-Ago-Georgie some advice going into your first weeks at Axium, what would it be?
Stay calm, seeing how much could be done to the education system can be overwhelming. It is a step by step process, and your role allows you to make a small impact in part of a bigger picture, but that is fine. It is impossible to understand the in’s and out’s of an organisation in a few weeks so be patient and it will get easier!
Lastly, what stands out as the best thing you’ve tried / tasted / seen here in your first month?
Georgie – The landscape/scenery. I still pinch myself when I look at the view from Zithulele! How lucky am I to have found such an amazing place to spend my year out.
Bethan – Amagwinya!