Adopt a School

In order for a school to become an affiliate, it needs to have a certain amount of organization and structure in place. In addition to school faculty and a committee of parents, each school must have its own blog or website and committee of sponsors. Several schools have their faculty and committee of parents but lack a blog and a committee of sponsors. Therefore, any group of three people, whether it be a family, a church, a school, or a group of friends, can adopt a school by creating and maintaining a blog, as well as committing to generate at least $100 US each month to support the school. Each school’s sponsoring committee has access to additional information that equips them to have oversight over the school and the funds they generate. This information includes names and contact information of school faculty and parent committee members, monthly expenses, incoming funds from other sources, and contacts of any other organizations contributing funds, record of teacher attendance, and record of student attendance. If you are interested in adopting a school, please e-mail GrassrootsSchools@gmail.com.

Visiting Your School

We highly advise that the committee of sponsors and other sponsors in general visit their schools. This only improves the understanding and relationship between the three committees. However, we do have some guidelines that are important to keep in mind when doing so. While parts of these guidelines may seem common knowledge, please read thoroughly as other parts may require more reflection and effort to carry out.

1. Your visit will likely create excitement among the school and the community. It is important that amongst the excitement, your visit is organized and promotes a disciplined educational institution. In order to do this, it is a good idea that you come prepared with an organized activity to do at the school with the students, planning with the school’s director and teachers ahead of time. All rules practiced in your absence should be maintained in your presence. Visitors should be careful with cameras. Pictures can cause extra excitement so they should be saved for the end of the school day.

2. If the visitors and the school and community do not speak the same language, it is very important that a skilled interpretor is present. Much confusion and many misunderstandings and assumptions come from unsuccessful communication. On the other hand, much understanding and therefore advancement comes from successful and accurate communication. Also, prepare ahead of time and attempt to learn at least some of the foreign language. Visitors are always more highly considered and respected when they have made this effort.

3. There is likely a construct in place that holds the visitors’ class, race, nationality, or what have you, in a position of superiority and domination and the school and community in position of inferiority and submission. Even if you do not agree with this construct mentally, it can be quite strong and you can fall into it without trying. A good rule of thumb to avoid supporting the construct but to work against it, and therefore toward equality, is to assure that the school faculty maintain its authority and its presence in the classrooms during your visit. If they seem sheepish or quick to step out and submit the classroom to the visitors, encourage them to maintain their position and treat you as a visitor, not an authority. This may mean that you have to take a step back yourself. While sponsors may hold a certain amount of authority financially, this does not equip them to be in a position of authority in the classroom. Additionally, the financial authority should not be viewed as superiority but as a partnership. Another common practice is for teachers, students, and community members in general to offer visitors chairs to sit in while they themselves go without, or offer special services in some manner. It is not wrong to accept, but remain mindful of the notion that you want to show those offering that you view them as equals and do not feel as though you receive special treatment.

4. Bringing and distributing donated items is a wonderful gesture. However, it can cause problems if not handled carefully. First, plan with the school’s director and teachers ahead of time to make sure that the items you come with to distribute are what is needed and/or desired. Second, assure that you come with an appropriate quantity. If there is not enough for everyone, what process will be used to determine who receives and who does not? School performance? Attendance and participation in activities held during your visit? Lastly, it likely makes the most sense that the school faculty receive the items from you and then distribute them according to the system you have decided upon with them ahead of time. 

5. Know that your presence in the community is likely a big deal. Be careful, therefore, about what you do and say while you are there, as you are highly watched and talked about. You want to set a good example. You also don’t want to do anything to create division within the community or leave anyone in a tough position after you leave. Be sure that you don’t promise or even allude to anything that you are not completely prepared to carry out.

6. Remember to respect parents and guardians as well. Kids may seem more free to cling to you and perhaps follow you home than they likely would in your home country. However, don’t forget to at least attempt to implement the same practices one would in your home country as far as respecting a child’s parents or guardians.

7. Open your heart and mind and try to empathize and connect as much as possible. This will create a genuine impact while visiting and while seeking support back home.


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