Testimonial – What I Learned.
Former Development Instructor in Malawi
- Why did you decide to choose this program?
I was working with refugees when I found out about the program – and working with the refugees opened my mind and helped me to realise I wanted to achieve something more – something bigger. I chose the programme because I always had a feeling to do something good in the world, to make some change and do something great. It was my dream to go and make development work in Africa, plus travelling to another country was interesting for me so when I heard about this programme it was something for me… it fit for me.
- What do you do now and what practical skills did you gain from this program to prepare you for this?
The programme I made in Denmark was a Fighting with The Poor and Pedagogy program. I spent one year working in Denmark with young people and in Malawi I worked as a Teacher at a Teacher Training College. At the moment I am studying at University – studying education, whilst working at the airport to earn money. I see myself in education because it is something very important – it is a key we have to develop developing countries. Education is not only to be a teacher but you can do much more – many doors open. My studies include working with the community and with NGO programs – being a pedagogue in the classroom and contributing to education outside the classroom. I gained a lot of skills as a DI – I started the program when I was 21 years old. Some of the things I learned include working as a team, overcoming challenges, developing my English skills, practical skills through practical actions – for example painting and construction – even if I complained a little about it at the time, knowing about different cultures and respecting those different cultures has been important. Organising time has meant a lot because it was a tool for getting things done. I am still making a monthly schedule for myself – it helps me to be more organised and get more things done. These broad skills are good foundations for what I am doing now.
- What would be an important moment, event, achievement or person you met during your time in the program?
Something that pops into my mind is that my mother was a teacher in Sao Tome and I always wanted to be like her. She had a photo taken where she was teaching in the classroom and I had that photo with me always. In Malawi while teaching, my team mate took a photo of me and when I looked at it later I saw it as a big compliment and I realised that I followed the dream – I was walking in my mum’s footprints. As a Core Group Teacher in Malawi I realised that although we had planned in Denmark, the reality was different in Malawi and I had to adapt to the reality of the people there… the people had a lot to teach and share with us, sometimes it felt like more than we had to give them. People were eager to learn and hear from us, and just being there and facing the reality changed my mind. One thing is having an idea and the other is dealing with the reality and that made a big different for me as a person. Whilst carrying out the teaching in Malawi, it was so interesting to see that the studies the students carried out were not only interesting, but they had a lot to do with their own reality. This helped the student to empower themselves, to develop and transform themselves and their environment and do better.
- Has your work as a Development Instructor influenced your decisions for your future?
I always wanted to be a teacher and I came to the programme to develop my skills. I was curious about the programme and about the project period. During the volunteer work in Malawi I found that education really makes a difference in the country, and in the world. That helped me to realise – also through my own studies – the power of education. It helped me even more to continue studying and to focus on the education aspect – and what I can do to learn and develop myself and bring it on further to the people. I want to work with teenagers because that age is a crucial time to show them the world… they need to see the truth, the reality about what is going on in the world and what we can do to make a difference. This is an important age where people can become more active in society.
Since I came home from the programme I have been working on creating a project: €1 Africa. For example if I think about building a school in Nigeria, I will make a website where Nigerians can donate €1 to build the school… all the steps will be on the website so people can follow how it is going – how much has been earned, how the project progresses, if they can help with more… it is an idea I wish to put into practice in the future.