Inspired by Nature...and volunteer Stina

I’m at the end of my internship as a volunteer at Safari English Club. Most of my time is spent with the advanced class and I particularly enjoy working with alternative learning, such as working with different subjects or issues in a creative way, although it can be challenging sometimes. I have found that quite a lot that the kids find it difficult to use their imaginations. However, having said that, I definitely see a development from when I first met them until now.

Recently, I met a volunteer Lina from Germany who is working with the young people in Fuoni, at Zanzibar Learning 4 Life Foundation. When I found out that she is an art student, I saw the opportunity to invite her to run some creative classes at Safari English Club (using plenty of English, of course!) and she gladly agreed to come. The students don’t often get to do this kind of creative work, but they really enjoy it as a change from the more academic school subjects.

We planed the art project together and ran it over 3 days. It started with Lina introducing different styles of art.  She showed some of her art, and made the students practice some different techniques in pairs by drawing each other’s faces. This activity was a great way to introduce sketching, and the classroom were filled with laughter, which really showed the kids had a great time even though they had been really concentrating.

The second day was about the idea of nature as inspiration.  The students were able to sit outside and to draw what they found beautiful and interesting.  They really enjoyed it and I really enjoyed being with them in a different context. 

The third day we finished with the idea of “free imagination”.  We were working with nature as our inspiration.  The students could draw whatever they wanted also using colour. And at the end of the class they had to talk about their drawing.  The art project was a great success and the kids really enjoyed the three days.  And some of them are really talented artists!

Yesterday Muslim came to me, he wanted to show me the sketches he has been working on since the class ended on Thursday. He’d been spending time around the village drawing different flowers, trees and even a bicycle. He is such a talented boy (as you can see in the last picture) and this really proves the importance of working with creative processes combined with practising English, that can inspire young people and help them see their potential.