Aen's Blog

My love affair with Educate Me Egypt

I was honoured to spend the day with the wonderful children, teachers and helpers at the Educate-Me project in Eltalbyia, on the outskirts of Cairo. It started with a chance meeting and a simple act of kindness, from founder and CEO Yasmin Helal, to pay one little girl's government school entrance and tuition fees, amounting to 100EGP. From there, the idea of creating Educate Me came and is now serving over 200 children, some of whom would otherwise fall through an educational system gap, and it started with next to no money and a lot of heart. What an inspiration! It proves that it's not money we need to make a difference in this world and live our legacy.

They had just started a new class for 9 to 15 year olds who for various reasons did not make it into the local secondary school. I spent the afternoon with them and fell in love with every single one of the children and was so impressed with the teacher, Amearah, who had chosen to leave what might seem to many a very comfortable life with her family in the U.S., to teach there.
Amearah's commitment showed in her dedication and patience with the children, I was totally inspired by her example and the children's willingness. It was very tough to leave them for my lift home that afternoon.

The very next day I phoned to ask if I could come back to teach the children their English vowels, I noticed that they were struggling to remember the shapes and had created an idea for a lively, interactive and hopefully memorable class to help them have fun and remember the vowels and their shapes.

A week later I was teaching them and what an afternoon it was. I had prepared what I thought was a 90-minute class of telling them funny stories about a word that had each vowel in and then they would write out the vowel. Well, the writing was slow going so, with the permission and blessing of the teacher we took the whole afternoon. The children seemed to love it and did not want to go home or me to leave. It was such a hit that the founder Yasmin sent me a message the following day to ask me when I was coming back.

That was almost three months ago so after a trip to the UK and then South Africa, I am so excited to be back in Egypt and to arrange my follow up class. Maybe I can create an experiential game for them to have fun and have a better chance of retaining what they are learning.