Claudia Lussana came back to give us a lovely talk about her work there. She brought the club a present from her teaching assignment which is pictured below.
See below for her report.
In Clive Richardson's Presidential year the Youth Service Committee agreed to help Claudia Lussana, an Epsom resident, to travel to Soweto to teach English to students in a deprived area. She needed to raise money to undertake the trip and we made a donation to assist her in achieving her target total. Two students travelled from Warwick University, where she has been studying, under a scheme run by the university called Warwick in Africa. In her own words this is what she said:
slotted back into my life at home, looking back on my time away in Soweto, it
all seems a rather surreal experience. I must admit it was probably the
most intense experience of my life that left me somewhat mentally, physically
and emotionally drained upon my return home, but equally the most incredible
and rewarding. I was pretty much teaching from the moment we arrived and during
my six weeks taught between four and five English classes a day five days a
week to grade 11s and 12s (who had their end of school matric exams coming up).
Class sizes ranged from about 25-40 students, many of whom had to share chairs,
desks and textbooks due to the lack of school resources.
The school in which I was placed was Namedi Secondary School in Diepkloof, Soweto and I was welcomed so warmly by both students and teachers that I found it very hard to leave. In fact, I am still missing my students now who, although were very challenging at times, really began to respond well and throw themselves into the short stories and poetry I taught them. As I watched their progress and saw how much they flourished in English during my stay, I can't even begin to explain how proud they made me feel. Despite being a bit poorly throughout the duration of my time there, it made every second (and every hospital visit) so worth it. I don't think it struck me just how much of an impact I had on these children (many of whom travel for hours to get to school in the morning and who live in some of the worst slum areas of South Africa) until the end of my stay when I was surprised with a day of songs, poetry, dance, speeches and gifts that my students had prepared for me as a surprise send off and thank you.
Before we left, each of us was provided with some resource money from the Warwick in Africa team to spend on things we felt each of our schools could benefit with. It was only a small amount, but the other Warwick teacher who was teaching maths at Namedi and I spent the money on bins for most of the classrooms, a big white board, brooms, dustpans and brushes, and general stationary for the maths and English departments which they were extremely grateful and thankful for.
As part of Warwick in Africa's research and in order to provide them with feedback, I also asked each student to fill out an evaluation form before I left. In fact, before sending them all back to the WiA team I scanned them so I could keep copies for myself so I shall attach them in another email to you in case you would like to flick through them. Some of their messages are very moving and will hopefully show you how much of an impact your contribution has had. I also conducted some interviews with some of my best students before leaving which I have since typed up the transcripts for and will send you along with some more photos.
Despite the daily struggles and huge poverty faced by most of the black community in Soweto, I honestly think that during my time there, I met some of the warmest and loving people I have ever come across. The experience will certainly stay with me forever and I hope one day to return.
more Two photos taken by Stephanie Spiteri
more Cheque Donation to Blenheim School
more The local heats of the Young Musician were held at Epsom College on 20th November
more On our recent trip to Malawi we gifted books to local schools from Anne Richardson and others.
more Four representatives from Epsom Rotary flew to Malawi to take part in the ceremony of handing over 6 more bicycle ambulances.
more Down to Hayling Island for our District Conference
more Epsom Rotary sent a team to help with Cancer Research UK Race for life on Epsom Downs
more Three contestants in the Young Chef competition helped produce a wonderful evening meal at the canopy
more Epsom Mayor and Epsom Rotary President out collecting at Sainsbury's
more Tha annual public speaking competion in English was held in Chantilly with our President's wife being one of the judges.
more 5 local Charities attended our ceremony to receive cheques.
more Here are some of the crocuses that we gave to Mayfield Lavender Farm to plant - some lovely pictures - thank you to Diana Deavin and Mayfield.
more The competition was held at Epsom College and all the participants were of a high standard
more Work on the walled garden by a team of volunteers continues
more The Junior and Intermediate rounds were held on 27th Feb 2018. Alisa Strelkova-Lundberg of Rosebery came first in the Intermediate round and Rosie Paget of Blenheim in the Junior.
more Some pictures of the event and an article from the newspapaer
more Steve Sharkey was inducted as our new President by outgoing President Richard Deavin
more Epsom Rotary donated 3 bicycle ambulances to the village of Chilaweni in Malawi
more Jasmine Bingham won the Regional Final of the Young Musician (Vocalist) at Reading on Sunday 29 April. She performed on Saturday 19th May at the National Final in Edinburgh!!!
more Martin was inducted by our President Richard Deavin at the lunchtime meeting.
more The Three Winning Photographs . Olivia went on to come third in the District Competition.
more Our finalists performed well at the Young Musician District Final with Jasmine Bingham advancing to Regional Finals.
more Mike Waddilove wins the annual bowls championship and receives his prize from President Elect Ronnie Smith
more We sponsored a young doctor to climb Kilimanjaro to help Dig Deep Africa - this is her story.
more We welcome Pam Woodcock as a new member.
more We now run a meet up at The Cricketers in Epsom on the last Friday of the month. Here are a few photos.
back Activities at Epsom Rotary this year