Small Stuff – Can Mean So Much

 Ms. Krug and Walnut Creek Intermediate School

    Shortly before I left for Kabul mid October, I had the pleasure of giving a talk to Julie Krug’s class at Walnut Creek Intermediate School. I arrived early and was able to watch her teach French.
    Her students all had white erase boards with dry markers and a cloth. I watched as they spelled words, wrote sentences and held up the boards for Julie to see.
     When I took French I spent most of my time looking out the window, watching the clock and hoping I would not be called upon to struggle through a conversation in French. Knowing one language seemed like enough to me at the time.
     By contrast, Julie’s students were totally engaged. She was able to quickly determine who and how many were having trouble, when they held up their boards. There’s also no opportunity to gaze out the window when a student is required to keep writing answers on a board.
      It didn’t take long to realize that the erase boards would be a tremendous educational tool in Afghan schools, for no other reason than every school lacks enough paper. The boards can be used over and over.
     When asked how much the boards cost, Julie said there is a cheaper solution that is just as good if not better; a sheet protector with a sheet of paper inside.

Another project is born

   Within 24 hours I received an email from Julie advising me that one student’s parent, Julie Mendelsohn, was donating 300 dry erase markers!
     Paul Renaud, who works for Stop Hunger Now, called several days later to ask whether there was something else they might provide in addition to rice. He asked “do they need school supplies?”.
These coincidences happen too often for them to be coincidences.
     Julie held an after school stuffing party at her school and brought several of her students to TIE’s Packing Party. They inserted a sheet of paper into 1000 sheet protectors, which proved to be too heavy for me to pack in my suitcase. I was, however, able to pack 350 sheet protectors and over 500 dry erase markers. They are now being used in four schools.

Thank you WCI

Often it’s the little things that have a major impact.

     Not every project needs to be large and expensive.

Let’s help them have a shot at it

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