AIR: One Teacher's Experiences in Tajikistan

Through AIR's work with the USAID's Quality Reading Project in Tajikistan, Guljahon Rahmonova, who teaches fourth grade in Kulob, received specialized in-service training. Read about her experiences in her own words.

"The USAID Quality Reading Project In-Service Teacher Training on Reading in the Tajik Mother Tongue opened my eyes to an important fact; our current practices focused entirely on reading fluency and speed, which I realized were only small aspects of reading. During the sessions, I learned that teaching reading is much broader and more complex than this, because reading includes many other aspects – vocabulary enrichment, reading comprehension, formative assessment, letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and so on."

"We learned many new strategies to engage our students and teach them reading and Tajik language in new ways. Let me tell you about them."

Silent Reading

"Silent reading is important because this is what students will do all their lives. We’ve done this before but we didn’t test them on whether they comprehend what they were reading."

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Vocabulary Books and Visual Aids
"Did they even understand all the words? Of course not. We have now introduced the creation of vocabulary books to help students to learn new words in an interesting way. We started playing vocabulary games and are now using tactile learning aids. Many of those aids we learned to create during the USAID Quality Reading Project In-Service Teacher Training."

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"We also discovered something else that was completely new to us. As a primary teacher, I had never considered how to make the classroom a reading-friendly environment. We learned about using visual aids and the importance of displaying the kids’ work on the walls of the classroom."
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AIR's current international education work

World Vision: How Education Inspired Peace for Two Refugee Children

Five-year-old Kheir outside World Vision’s Early Education Program in the Bekaa area in Lebanon. ©2017 World Vision/photo by Josephine Haddad   

Five-year-old Kheir outside World Vision’s Early Education Program in the Bekaa area in Lebanon. ©2017 World Vision/photo by Josephine Haddad

For Kheir and Mhamad, school had a different meaning than it holds for many children. It was not just a place for education; it was a getaway, a place where they could live their childhood.

The alternative for Kheir, 5, was gathering plastic and nylon from the sides of the road and then selling them to the local buyers who are interested in recycling. As for Mhamad, 6, it was collecting potatoes from the field for hours and hours every day.

But thanks to determined parents and World Vision’s “Early Children Education” program, both boys were introduced to the world of education.

Kheir’s story

“He’s the only one in the family who stands the chance of having a good future. All of our hopes are pinned on Kheir,” said his mother Souraya, 37. None of his eight older siblings had the chance of receiving schooling, neither in Syria nor in Lebanon. Kheir comes from a big family. His father remarried and had children from his second wife. He no longer supported Souraya’s children, who are all minors, especially after both families fled to Lebanon from Aleppo in 2011.

Souraya heard about World Vision’s “Early Children Education” program, which is based on activities that give vulnerable children the opportunity to be successful in life. It develops their skills and hobbies through a curriculum for children ages 3 to 6 that includes learning letters, sounds, colors, songs, and numbers. The classes take place in seven different informal tented settlements in the Bekaa area. Souraya registered Kheir, as he was within the correct age range. But Kheir’s older brothers had to gather plastic and sell it in order for their family to survive. They often asked Kheir for his assistance in certain neighborhoods.

“He begs me to go to school instead of work, because he likes it there more,” said Souraya.

“I make $7 on most days. I use it to buy bread and water for my family,” said Kheir, who has asked his brothers if he can work with them after school, so he doesn’t miss classes.

“It isn’t just about food,” Souraya interrupted, “ Kheir stopped being violent with other children. He cares more about his personal hygiene and nothing makes him happy like getting good remarks from his teachers. ”

“The school is like a sanctuary to him and I encourage that,” said Souraya.

Read Mhamad's Story and more here

FHI360: Salahudeen discovers his love for reading

Salahudeen reading 

Salahudeen reading 

Katsina, Nigeria: It is a typical school day in Take-Tsimi, a village in northern Nigeria. In Take-Tsimi primary school, a student named Salahudeen is called upon to read aloud in class. He stands up and does so with confidence, serving as a role model to the other children in his class. Over the last school year, Salahudeen has been sharpening his reading skills through participation in the Reading and Numeracy Activity (RANA).

RANA is a three-year pilot project on Hausa language reading and numeracy, implemented by FHI 360 as part of UNICEF’s Girls Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3) with funding support from the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID). RANA is implemented in collaboration with the governments of Katsina and Zamfara states, and it aims to improve literacy and numeracy for girls and boys in primary grades 1-3 by assisting approximately 200 formal schools and Integrated Qura’nic Schools.

A local education official noticed Salahudeen’s exceptional reading performance during a routine RANA monitoring visit. Salahudeen explained, “I have always admired people when I see them reading. When our teacher started teaching us RANA lessons, I paid attention so that I can also read.”

In addition to dedicating himself to his RANA classes, Salahudeen began saving portions of his lunch allowance so that he could buy his own reading material. He is now the proud owner of six books. Although his father attested that Salahudeen had always been a good student, he also believed that the RANA program enhanced Salahudeen’s interest in reading. “The RANA lessons have made Salahudeen more hardworking and to love school,” his father said. “I will support his education to any level within my means. I am very grateful to RANA for giving school a new meaning.”

Learn more here:

Salahudeen reading in class

Salahudeen reading in class