In October 2015 a logistics officer in a refugee camp in Iraq approached me via Facebook. As the Domiz camp near Dohuk had no facilities for the children to play and learn, we started preparations to create a ‘safe learning space’. The first step was to set up a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise funds to create a place where the kids could come together to play, sing and learn.
Within three weeks, Kaniwar Kh Ali managed to find the classroom space – an old mobile unit. Soon we had a classroom, an English teacher called Jiyan, some borrowed tables and chairs and craft supplies. The first lessons were activity based sessions; drawing, singing and dancing. Although this was a mere makeshift classroom with limited resources, it became known as the Heart School.
After two rounds of crowdfunding, it became clear that it would not be possible to sustain and develop the project on such modest funds and the idea for Heart ELT was born. I decided to produce crowdsourced ELT materials and through the sales of these books, raise funds to support other learning spaces and teachers on the ground. Many volunteer teachers are working with little or no resources, often in isolation and with no support. They are the angels of the ELT world, dedicated to the kids. Many of us cannot go off to work as volunteers; we have jobs, children and other commitments. However, what we can do is lend a hand to volunteer teachers, donate our time or skills, to support their work and help children go to school.
So, this is how Heart ELT started. I approached several teachers and authors and asked if they would be willing to ‘donate’ an activity to a crowdsourced activity book. The response was overwhelming. We now have over 200 authors who wish to contribute to the project. The first book, Hope Peace Respect is a book of rap songs written by Jason R. Levine of Fluency MC. It is available from KELTIC and Intrinsic Books and through the links on the website. The second book, the A-Z of Hope, a photocopiable activity book for early learners through to teenagers, will be available in September.
Our mission is simple: We believe every child has a right to education. Let’s pool our ideas, resources and energy and work towards providing refugees children with access to education.
Please join us. Get involved. Contribute. Buy the books.
We believe every child has a right to education.
Donate your skills, time or money. Every little helps.
Keep up to date with our news.
Coming soon! The announcement of the A-Z of Hope launch event.
Useful links for teachers
The Low Resource Classroom
Thinking of volunteering to teach in a refugee camp but not sure what materials to take with you? Teaching in a low-resource classroom can be tricky without the technology and aids that many of us take for granted. However, in many ways it brings out the best in us. It is challenging, rewarding and feeds the creative spark that drives many teachers.
Here is a list of useful resources (Please note: This is a work in progress!) Please feel free to send us any suggestions or links to materials you think would be useful.
Teachers research and share how to create resources from nothing. Useful ideas for teachers working in low-resource contexts. http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/how-create-resources-nothing
Fehmina, a primary teacher from Pakistan explains how she created a garage school for street kids with minimum resources. http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/creating-a-garage-school
Teaching English with minimal resources: http://www.onestopenglish.com/methodology/minimal-resources/
Excellent site, especially the “teaching unplugged” section: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/teaching-teens/resources/activities
This is a reasonably good site with loads of materials for each and every level. The short videos can help both native and non-native speaker teachers of English. Graded, step by step approach. http://www.eslgold.com/
This is a short article with some good teaching tips that can inspire teachers to create activities in the same vein. http://www.witslanguageschool.com/NewsRoom/ArticleView/tabid/180/ArticleId/303/Teaching-tips-Teaching-with-limited-resources.aspx
A-Z of Hope is the first in a series of crowdsourced ELT books to raise funds for Heart ELT, a social enterprise set up in pursuit of the cause ‘ELT for Social Change’.
This photocopiable resource book consists of 26 activities that stimulate childrens’ imagination and bring joy to the classroom.
The activities are a selection of games, quizzes and crosswords and are for use with all children around the world. The age range is from young learners to teenagers.
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