Kristy Hui, who has just recently returned from the WorldTeach Chile Semester program, shares reflections on her experience and the rewards of an independent fundraising initiative. Welcome home, Kristy!!
Two things that I had never done before WorldTeach: live in a foreign country where I didn’t know the language, and fundraise for a project independently. I was able to accomplish both through being a part of WorldTeach this year, and I am very grateful. I was a volunteer in the WorldTeach Chile Semester 2010 program and taught English to an amazing group of 7th to 12th grade girls for 4 months. I was placed in Colegio Republica de Columbia, an all-girls public school in Viña del Mar. Although the school has had previous part-time volunteers, they had never had any full-time volunteers that taught classes in their own classroom like I did. The students were a little unsure what to expect of me in the beginning, but warmed up to me fast and my new way of teaching.
Opportunities are limited for a lot of my students because they come from rough backgrounds, and public schools in Chile also have limited funds (as in many other places). I found my students to be sweet, funny, and very bright– they just needed a little dose of motivation to learn English. Having taught them has motivated me to continue on my path as a teacher, and I have learned so much from working with the girls. I really miss them!
My idea for my fundraising project started when I found out that one of the laptops at school had been stolen. The school previously had 2 laptops, one for administrative purposes and one for students to use. Since the laptop was stolen, the only laptop at the school had to be used to administrative purposes and there was no lap top available for the students to use. I noticed that every time the girls wanted to do a presentation for the class they would have to carry a heavy PC modem up to their classroom. I wanted to do something to give back to the school because I had a wonderful experience teaching there, so I decided to fundraise to get the school a new lap top. I got inspiration from a friend in the program that had done a fundraising project for her school, successfully raising money to buy her school’s English department a digital projector. With only 2 weeks to raise the money, I was a little doubtful I could meet my goal, but I hoped for the best. I sent out emails to friends and family, posted links on facebook to my fundraising page, and asked my mother to tell family friends about my project.
I had originally set my fundraising goal at $600, but before I knew it I had raised $1, 520 for my project! I am so incredibly grateful tp my family and friends that donated to my project, and because of their generosity I was able to buy my school not one, but two new lap tops for the school! When I had brought the laptops during the last day at the school the school supervisor (UTP) told me that she thought that his was “a gift from God”. The looks on their faces of gratefulness and surprise made everything worth it. I specifically asked for these two laptops to be used by the students, and I know that they will be a beneficial tool in their education. My students have made a huge impact on my life, so I thought that this was an appropriate way to give them my thanks. I wish my students the best of luck, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.