The town of Merida, Venezuela is growing quiet. You can feel the absence of too many students. Many children can’t go to school because of inflation and scarcity. The tremendous teacher shortage contributes to a lack of education also and resulting delinquency of some of the population.
Long lines of people waiting for a bus to take them home fill the bus stops. I am just walking, but with intention. Unlike the people around me, I am excited about my destination.
Motivation is a scarcity among Venezuelans, but the group I teach (Grupo de Creación, Recreación y Producción DTML) maintains a great attitude because of our intention for learning and sharing during our time together every Thursday. We are inspired by our progress. It is exciting to us. Our group and the purpose for it creates a bond between us, keeping us upbeat.
This optimism our group is experiencing in the moment is symbolic for the hope we can begin to foster for the future. If our small group can see a window of possibility, then perhaps society can come along for the ride in the days to come.
When education occurs amongst a tightly knit group of students, a supportive environment is born. A situation presents itself where kids start to recognize how amazing it is to have knowledge, to achieve and make strides they may not have realized were possible.
The group will as a whole, without even realizing it, uphold and motivate one another because they have something in common that others around them don’t have. They will know they are different and will see that it’s because they are learning in a way that is not typical for their people.
They will feel and think differently, and maybe for the first time, experience a world of possibilities in their minds. It is distance learning that creates this reality.
Why is today more encouraging?
Today is special. During the meeting on this cold, white afternoon, 13 kids will come to receive the certificates they’ve earned by completing modules on the platform. It is a free e-learning platform that offers learning games in classrooms where there aren’t enough teachers.
These types of achievements may seem ordinary and to be expected in some countries. Here though they have tremendous meaning. Here, where many people are not able to learn and become educated, it is ground-breaking and heart-stirring. Our own personal world can possibly change for the better.
Our group learned English in almost 80 hours of work during the last three months. This means so much to us and opens a window of light into our lives. This will make a positive change for our future.