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Bridge To Formal Schooling


Transitioning Refugee Children Into Formal Schools while Supporting Parents To Sustain Their Education.

Phase 1: Online Challenge - Open Ideo It all started with a question, “How might we improve education and expand learning opportunities for refugees around the world?” YARID joined the OpenIDEO challenge, an online platform for innovative solutions to the world's biggest problems. Through a series of online forums, YARID was eventually selected to protoype, then pilot our proposed solution.

Phase 2: Prototype The prototyping plan was a series of quick, low-cost activities designed to solicit rapid feedback and help refine the idea. The idea was to test certain elements of our proposed solution to see what worked, learn from failure, and gather insights and stories along the way. The prototype tested out 3 main approaches:

1. How might a class based support program help refugee children integrate in to formal school? Approach 1 tested out a class-based support program at Katwe Central Primary School with 2 teachers, 23 children (14 boys, 9 girls), 5 mentors, and 16 parents. These children had never attended school in Uganda before. They were taught English and Math, then mentors followed up with their families to receive feedback on their experience.

2. How might we provide scholastic materials and resources to teachers to allow them to more effectively support refugee students? Refugee children come from different language backgrounds (mostly French & Swahili), this approach provided teachers with posters and charts in those languages to assist in learning. We tested how the provision of these teaching tools would help teachers support the refugee students. The prototype was carried at Katwe Central Primary School with one national teacher (who could speak some Swahili) and 26 children.

3. How might we support refugee children integrate into formal school through a non-school setting? Approach 3 tested out using non-class settings: a church, a market, and at their homes. The prototype was carried out with 5 mentors at the home, church, and market settings. At the church we worked with one Sunday school teacher and 27 children (18 girls and 12 boys). At the market we worked with one teacher, 5 mentors and 12 children (7 girls and 5 boys). At the end of a 3-month long prototyping sessions, we chose to pilot the idea with a class-based approach.

Phase 3 : Pilot After initial outreach, 65 children showed up at the YARID offices to participate in a day of activities intended to assess their level and selection into the pilot class. Parents attended an info session about the process. Activities included: piecing together puzzles, coloring pages, and physical outdoor games. Each activity was scored, then results were discussed among facilitators for final consideration into the pilot.

A final 30 children were selected to join the first BFS class, ages 9-13 and at varying levels. Today, the pilot is running full force. Children attend classes Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm, guided by two BFS Teachers. The children's parents are visited by two BFS Mentors on a weekly basis. BFS Mentors work with families on positive parenting techniques and offer trainings in small business development. The goal is to help parents find ways to pay their kids' school fees and support their families.