Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Volunteers supporting Indonesian skills development
Under the sponsorship of Vodafone Qatar and in partnership with the Titian Foundation of Indonesia, a joint Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) – Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar initiative is taking student and faculty volunteers on a trip to Indonesia to facilitate skills development workshops in a ROTA-supported school in the village of Bayat in the Klaten District in Java from 4th to 13th May, 2011.
It was in response to a May 2006 earthquake that hit the Klaten District, that ROTA supported the construction of a modern vocational school in the village of Bayat in collaboration with the Titian Foundation. This intervention furthered the development of education in Bayat and the surrounding villages and benefited over 1000 students, as well as educators with on-going teacher training initiatives.
This is the first time that Reach Out to Asia has partnered with a single university for a volunteer trip and is also the longest volunteer trip yet coordinated by ROTA and sponsored by Vodafone Qatar.
“Many of our volunteer trips in the past have focused on manual labor or cultural transfer,” said Mohamed Saleh ROTA Community Development Manager.. “This time, we have put the emphasis on skills transfer, which will have longer term benefits. This is the first time that a ROTA volunteer trip has focused on increasing teacher capacity by way of facilitating workshops. Bayat School has been involved in the program development process from the very beginning by identifying areas where capacity-building is required for their students and teachers. Therefore, the final program, centered on art, was developed in response to these immediate and recognized needs.”
The trip program includes tailor-made workshops and sessions so that both the VCUQatar volunteers and the local students and teachers get the most out of the trip.
“We’re positive that this visit will have an extremely positive impact on the immediate community,” said Ms. Luisa Gentile, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Vodafone Qatar. “We know that forty teachers and 276 students at the school will directly benefit. However, the program is made in such a way that the impact will be felt far beyond the direct beneficiaries. We hope that the workshops will benefit the wider Klaten Region, through the increased skills of art teachers and subsequent improvement in quality of art education.”
VCUQatar student volunteers will conduct peer-to-peer workshops over five days covering topics related to the arts, such as training in Photoshop, fashion design, pattern-making, sewing, and logo design. Each session will have 30 students from the Bayat School, with the subject content and lesson plans exclusively designed by the VCUQatar students themselves.
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar faculty volunteers will facilitate two teacher training workshops. Firstly, ten art teachers from the Bayat School will attend an all-day workshop covering pedagogy and enhancing creativity in student work. Secondly, about thirty teachers from the surrounding Klaten Region will attend a teacher training workshop covering the same areas.
“This trip serves more than one purpose,” said Valerie Jeremijenko, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at VCUQatar. “Mainly, it’s to enhance academic learning and cultural understanding for both the VCUQatar volunteers and local students through the workshops. However, it is also hoped that by engaging with members of the local community, the student volunteers’ interpersonal skills and levels of empathy will also be increased..”