Day one of the workshop at the Akeri Secondary School, just outside of Arusha, Tanzania. We were all welcomed with open arms and the teachers were very excited about our arrival. As we met the kids, they seemed a little shy at first, but they all seemed eager to be there with us. We had two hours with them after school, Mon-Fri and around 6 hours on Sat and Sun.
The first day was mostly introductions. We opened with icebreakers, to get them more comfortable. Us, the volunteers were in charge of coming up with fun, energetic icebreakers for every day. Once we were all aquatinted and full of energy, Adam and Uswege started to get into what RENEW is all about.
Every day we started with a fun activity to star off the workshop with the kids, like Rock Paper Scissors, the trust fall, and others to get them having fun. Everyday the kids got more and more comfortable and confident. We shared personal stories with them that were relevant to the lessons, which to them was impactful. That opened up their trust. The way the workshop is facilitated is great. RENEW shows them that we are all equal, that we are not there to teach, but to learn and grow together, from each other. It is not a teacher-student environment. It is a family-friend environment. We are all learning from one another, the students from us, and us from them.
The students are so bright. They pick up and absorb the lessons very well, helping them grow as their own unique individuals. They now have the motivation and drive to do better within themselves and their communities.
You start to feel attached to them as the week goes by, feeling their growth, their struggles and their aha! moments. Seeing how personal growth and development impacts them, having them face their struggles and seeing them triumph past them, seeing the life and light in their eyes as they grow into their own personal potential.
It is so rewarding to be in their presence, to be a part of their growth and of the beginning of their journey to self love, self discovery and their roles in leadership. Knowing that I can play a role in their growth to inspire their lives and the lives of their communities is an honor. Those changes they can contribute will then spread beyond their communities and have a greater impact on the world around them.
As a volunteer, I loved being involved as we able to facilitate some lessons on some of the days. Being able to impact the kids on a personal level as well as being able to document and capture some of the precious and impactful moments during the workshop. Having them respond in a positive way to what you were able to contribute to the lesson is heartwarming. Just knowing that you are impacting their lives in a powerful and positive way.
I am very blessed to have been a part of what RENEW is doing to help inspire change and growth in our youth around this beautiful planet we call home. And I know that I will be more than grateful to be a part of it again years to come.