"On the ground" with Kara
As communications manager for Exponential Education, I spend about half of my time traveling to our various programs - the after school tutoring programs as well as our girls leadership programs - to record and promote what it is that we are doing here in Ghana. This means traveling to many parts of Kumasi as I visit the schools that we work in.
The most exciting part of my job is when I get to meet students: the outgoing ones who want me to take their picture as well as the shy ones who turn away from my camera. There are often students younger than those we work with who hang around outside of the classroom during the after school tutoring sessions in order to listen in on the lesson. They stay after their own classes have finished because they are so curious about what their classmates are learning and want to be involved as well.
Last week I had the pleasure of witnessing a group of girls from our Girls Leadership Program watch the digital postcard that we received from a group of Indian girls in Hyderabad. Their attention was rapt as they watched the six minute video (which you can watch here) that describes the kind of clothes that girls in India wear; some problems that girls face in India; and most importantly asks questions of our Ghanaian students like what holidays they celebrate here and what kind of problems they face on a day-to-day basis.
I have interviewed tutors like 16-year-old Joanna, who says that her middle school students are like the sisters that her mother never gave her. She has been able to form a unique bond through her role as teacher and mentor; being only a few years older than her students means that she can connect with them in a way that their regular teachers cannot.
It has been a pleasure to witness the relationship between our program associates with their tutors and the tutors with their students develop over the past few months. Although the mission of Exponential Education is to help students think creatively and to help students continue their education to higher levels, an important benefit of our programs is the development of meaningful relationships that will last much longer than any of our individual programs.
Kara Freedman is the communications manager for Exponential Education.