Some years back, we had a few children who were really struggling with their studies at school. Alice*, Mary*, Saras* and Rachel* were among the few who really struggled at the school we sent them to.
Alice, a refugee child who has been staying with us for many years, was only able to study at the preschool level even though she was already 9 years old. No government school was willing to accept her due to her refugee status and the process of relocating her took a long time.
Then we have Mary. Mary hadn’t studied for 12 years and she was badly neglected from the home she came from. She could hardly interact with others when she first came in, so we tried putting her in a government school whilst heavily assisting her with tuition. Sadly, she wasn’t improving fast enough.
Next, we have Saras. She too was prevented from going to school for 4 years and she was already 12 years old at that point in time. She was sent to a Tamil school but was placed in one of the last classes. She really enjoys learning but she wasn’t given the attention needed to really excel in her studies. We really felt that she could do much better if she was given the opportunity.
Finally we have Rachel, a child diagnosed with ADHD, who was struggling to pay attention in a huge class. She was also having a very difficult time learning the subjects in Mandarin (we sent her to a Chinese school as she spoke mainly in Mandarin when she first came into our Home). Naturally, she started to lag behind in class.
After much discussion and by soliciting support from various donors and sponsors, SHELTER realized that it is not good that we spend thriftily on our operations but our children are not growing as individuals, able to obtain the best education we can offer them. So we started with Mary and Alice by sending to a Home school. This Home school uses the IGCSE syllabus and they are willing to work with a child at their level and not according to their age. With substantial sponsorship from the Home school and other donors, the remaining fees were affordable and we could quickly see significant improvement in both Mary and Alice. In her previous school, Mary was studying only 2 subjects instead of 5 as she was reluctant to push herself. Now in Home school, they have managed to encourage and push Mary to learn all 5 subjects and lately, she has been able to keep up with all 5.
Upon seeing the efficacy of such teaching method on Mary and Alice, the management decided to send Saras and Rachel as well. The Home school also teaches Mandarin and Rachel who was from a Chinese vernacular school is continuing her Chinese education in this school. At the end of 2014, we saw how all 4 of them were improving and did well in their studies.
It is our desire and hope to see that these 4 girls will eventually grow to be individuals, well equipped to embrace a holistic life through quality education.
*Names are aliases to protect the identity of our children