Editor’s note: This first appeared on the Little Ripples’ Blog.
In addition to doing teacher training at Little Ripples, we’ve also been conducting some qualitative interviews with the mother’s of some of the children attending Little Ripples. The purpose of these interviews is to learn about daily life of the child and their families, with the hopes of better understanding their psycho-social and health needs. We’ve learnt about the size of the child’s family, the child’s daily activities, their meal intake, how the mother perceives the child’s behavior and health of the child, whether the child has access to toys, if they’re parents tell stories or read to them, as well as if parents would like to be involved in a volunteer parent association.
The feedback has been informative and already there are some common themes. Malnutrition is apparent among many of the children present at the interviews, every family has been hit with malaria. Everybody has mosquito nets that are used during the night for the family to sleep under, but what we forget is that because their homes are so small, so cramped, families spend a lot of time outside in the evenings, exposed to mosquitoes. There is no diversity in their meals. Meat is an extravagance. Some families have the means to eat it three times a week, others only once a month.
When we asked the mother’s if they’d be willing to volunteer to assist in various activities at the Little Ripples school, including helping keep the school clean, each mother said yes, if they are called upon to help at the school, they will gladly volunteer each week. When asked what they hoped for the future of their children, all said they hoped for education and for choice. For their children to be able to go to school and to be able to choose what they want to do with their lives.
Seeing the conditions of their homes and of their children, it’s hard to accept and understand, but I left each home and each mother more fueled, more inspired, and with more belief that the Little Ripples school is the start that is needed for these children to be on a path of education and choice.