Norwalk Rotary Club President Brian Falkowski, his fiancee, husbands of team members, AG John Hendrickson, and DRFC Rick Benson gathered at the Norwalk Inn today to say farewell to our VTT Team. With the rain, fog, and traffic accidents, one team member was 30 minutes late arriving at the Norwalk Inn for their limo to JFK to start their 2 week VTT adventure in Freetown, Sierra Leone, but all were underway by 1:50 PM. Our team will return from Sierra Leone January 17 and a team from there will visit Norwalk and our District in late April. All of our team members are experienced Early Childhood educators who will share their skills with counterparts in Africa.
The Norwalk Rotary Vocational Training Team finally departed from JFK this afternoon to Sierra Leone after clearing more administrative and bureaucratic hurdles than any group of dedicated volunteers should have to endure. The team was originally scheduled to leave on Jan 4th but paperwork problems from previous grants between Freetown and Rotary International had to be resolved first. District VTT Chair Nancy Riella was steadfast in her resolve to make this global training grant happen as she tenaciously worked the halls of Rotary International to get the final approvals needed (an egg or two might have been broken in the process). DRFC Rick Benson called in a favor or two with a few of his contacts while PDG Colin Gershon provided important behind the scenes support in arranging for the Team’s financing.
This VTT project will take place at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology and the Baana Prepatory School in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The emphasis is basic education and literacy. Due to continual civil wars, Sierra Leone’s educational structure was destroyed. There is a need for updated teacher training curriculums to prepare infants – 5 year old children for school. Additionally, there is a need for improved curriculums, teachers and educators to train the Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers.
The direct beneficiaries will be all the children of Sierra Leone through education; the ECE teachers because they will have updated training with hands on experience; the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology due to exposure to current best practices and curriculum improvements.
Photos 1 & 2 by PDG Rick Benson
Sierra Leone VTT Update from Brussels Airport: We await our flight to Freetown, Sierra Leone. Excited to see what awaits us and eager to begin working.