School is in Session

We're back in school!

We're back in school! The girls had a fun break over August, but truthfully they love school and the majority of them were looking forward to being back in class. To them an education is definitely a privilege. Many of them were sent away from their homes to serve as domestic servants in exchange for their host home sending them to school. For our girls, this was an empty promise. They speak openly about watching the other children in their host home put on a uniform and go to school each day, while they stayed home to carry water, cook and clean. They used to watch longingly as other girls flipped through the pages of a book or giggled over notes that must have contained something funny.

Some of our girls never went to school before they arrived at BOA. Some of them went for a year or maybe two. All of them are behind peers their age and all of them have a long way to catch up. Because many of our girls were malnourished during their years of early develop almost all of them have learning disabilities. A few of them have significant challenges due to a prolonged combination of mental, physical and sexual abuse. Studies have shown that trauma can rewire a child’s brain making it difficult to process and retain information and from our experience we have seen that first hand. Unfortunately, local schools are not equipped to deal with learning disabilities. We want to give our girls their best possible chance at life and a big part of that is by receiving a solid education

So at BOA we’ve tailored the girls’ schooling to their unique needs. Two rooms of our house are dedicated classrooms. We have two certified local teachers that arrive every morning and teach/tutor our girls at a small ratio of 1:6. Mademoiselle Sofia has the six girls in earlier grades from 9-11:30am, teaching math, reading, writing, science, and social studies, while Mademoiselle Banachca has the girls in older grades primarily teaching English and language arts. They break for lunch and a quick stretch and then the groups switch and each teacher has the other group of girls for the afternoon hours of 12-2pm.  The girls are so eager to learn! They want to learn English very badly, maybe in part so they can understand everything Gary and I say to each other… (then we’ll have to switch to German J ).  Even though we can see them get frustrated at their challenges they are committed to overcoming them. After they are done with class at 2pm they will gather together and help each other study and complete their workbooks for another hour or more in order to be ready for the next day’s review. They take a lot of pride in their accomplishments, something we truly love to see. Little by little these are signs of healing from their past on this long journey.

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