During these times of great economical and psychological struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanzanian YES alumni are thinking of ways to provide needed relief in their communities. For this particular project, alumni identified students with disabilities as their target audience. This group was selected because alumni recognize the added obstacles and stress they face as students in the middle of this pandemic. The project was aimed at providing students a chance to escape from reality by engaging them in fun games and other activities.
The event took place at the Dongobesh Viziwi Primary School, a center for deaf students. With assistance from the school teachers, alumni taught students about four different activities: football, volleyball, jump rope, and various card games. These games gave students a chance to have fun and learn valuable teamwork skills.
Even though the goal of this day was to purely provide a fun and relaxed environment for the 75 students that attended, the kids and leaders learned more than they imagined.
The event coordinators taught the students about the importance of volunteering in order to promote giving back to others in their community. What better way to express this ideal than to tell students about the YES Program? The students learned about the YES Program and how it impacts alumni after they are done with their exchange year, along with how the program promotes volunteerism and community service. This was a significant conversation to have with the students in order to raise awareness about options available to them. The YES Program also includes students with disabilities, therefore enabling the students at the school to have the same goals and opportunities as other YES exchange students.
The alumni and teachers that hosted this event shared their wisdom, but also had the chance to learn from the students there, too. The teachers at the school already knew sign language but some alumni had to learn a few key words and phrases quickly in order to make communication easier with the students. Although this was challenging, the alumni and younger students in the school had the chance to learn even more about sign language at the event in a stress-free environment. Despite the small communication barrier, leaders within the school thought this event was impactful and hope to work with alumni in order to plan more events like this in the future.