Summer is in the air here in United States. Just a few more exams separate students (and teachers) from that magical time of the year where daydreams become reality, and the previous school year becomes a distant memory. Here at Belouga, this school year will stay in our memories forever. There have been many memorable moments over the past eight months since launching the platform, but one lesson stands out more than anything else. This is that learning happens all around us, every single day and in the places we least expect to see it.
Close your eyes for a minute and think about what a teacher looks like to you. Glasses? A little older? Wearing a collared shirt? Now take a minute and think about what a learning environment looks like to you. Classroom? Chalk boards or smart boards? Quiet and calm or loud and chaotic? Without knowing what your image looked like, I can confidently say your missing something. A teacher does not need to be an “adult” standing at the front of a classroom. A teacher can be a 16 year old girl in Dubai building her first robot, a teacher can be a 10 year old boy in Australia conducting a weekly talk show with his classmates that is tweeted to the world and a 13 year old girl in the United States writing to government officials to express her concern on environmental sustainability. Each child has the potential to offer the world a lesson; their story. My lesson came in the form of two yellow buckets and a backpack.
Before I go further, let me give you a quick recap of where this lesson came from. One of the most recent Belouga Impact Campaigns featured our friends at the Cheery Children Education Centre in Kenya, with the goal of supplying their students with clean water. Our community of incredible students and teachers never cease to amaze me, and once again rallied together to complete this campaign just five weeks after it was first announced. Here are some of the rockstars that helped achieve the goal:
— Bronwyn Joyce (@JoyceBronwyn) March 23, 2017
— Michael Drezek (@m_drez) May 2, 2017
— Weisenbach (@MTL_LM4Wizards) March 23, 2017
After receiving the funds needed to purchase clean water, the Founder of the Cheery Children Education Centre, Jairus Makambi, sent over a few pictures and the following message.
“After filling the water tank shown in the picture we use it for various things thus drinking, cooking, washing both hands and classrooms every Friday, children also wash with it after doing some manual work at school. Belouga’s team has done us good and for three months we have water at the school”
Our team loves supporting schools like Cheery and working with educators as passionate as Jairus, but something about this message felt different. It felt as if we were the ones that really owed Jairus and his students a thank you. On behalf of our entire team here at Belouga, thank you. Thank you for teaching us what determination looks like. Thank you for teaching us that education goes way beyond the four walls of a classroom. Thank you for teaching us that a smile is a universal language. Thank you for teaching us that regardless of where we are located in the world we are all neighbors. And last but not least, thank you for teaching us that two yellow buckets and a backpack can change the world.