Global Vision International Charitable Trust

Working with local grassroots charities and NGOs in 20 countries across the globe, the Global Vision International (GVI) Charitable Trust manages and fund-raises for numerous long-term programs. These further the works of of our local partners and aim to alleviate poverty, illiteracy, environmental degradation and climate change through: education; nutrition; conservation and capacity building. Our work focuses upon 3 key objectives, Awareness of global issues, Direct impact upon those issues on a local and global basis, and Empowerment of our alumni, be them our community members, staff, volunteers, fundraisers or donors, to continue impacting on key global issues independently
Sep 17, 2012

Jungle Man in the City

GVI Amazon’s partnership with Yachana includes many things; we bring new volunteers to camp in style by canoe; we receive curious visitors into camp that range from University students to delegates from the United Nations, and we host Ecuadorian pasantes or intern students. These students are part of GVI’s National Scholarship Program (NSP) in which all their costs (GVI costs, room & board) are covered by scholarship during their time of study with GVI.  NSP students come to GVI for the purpose of cultural and linguistic immersion, and high quality hands-on training in scientific methodologies.   In the Amazon, we receive many different types of NSP students – some for short stays of 2 weeks to 1 month; others come with their entire class for a focused visit; and longer term interns: NSPs who have excelled on shorter stays and are invited to come back for a longer course of study with progressively increasing levels of responsibility.
The most recent long-term pasantes to camp were two students from the Yachana Technical High School – Kevin, a student from the small oil city of Coca; and Henry, a student that came to the High School after being born and raised in a jungle community many hours walk from the already remote school.  While Kevin was more familiar with (small) city life, and has had the opportunity to travel to other parts of Ecuador, Henry’s community is something out of National Geographic – they hunt game with spears and blow darts, live in large communal huts and rely upon their shaman to heal and protect them.
Both Kevin and Henry were great assets to the camp.  Kevin’s knowledge and love of the jungle, as well as his dedication to perfecting his English, encouraged and motivated the volunteers, and he was able to proved great, and often hilarious, insight into the life and exploits of teenagers and young adults in Ecuador. Henry, on the other hand, was truly at home in our jungle. He could follow faint trails left by a single person ascertaining their direction from broken leaves and scuffs in the leaf litter. He showed us many useful plants and was often confounded and amused by the way the gringos struggled in this bewildering environment.
At this point it is worth mentioning the tuck shop or ‘Candy Mountain.’ This small enterprise brings chocolate and other snacks into camp to sell (hot commodities in our remote camp!), with proceeds going to a special fund for staff, who may use profits earned for improvements at camp, comforts for staff who live year-round in the jungle, or whatever they see fit as a team.  We have already used some of the proceeds to buy a much-needed pressure cooker -- cutting our cooking time by hours! – but still had some left over (we sell a LOT of cookies on base!).  So it was that the closing date for GVI Amazon was drawing ever nearer and we still had unspent funds. With a certain amount of excitement it was decided that the money could be used to send the boys to Quito for English lessons and a tour as neither knew much about their capital, Henry, at least, had never set foot in a large city.
Trying to hide his fear, Henry agreed to the plan, as did Kevin, and we were all excited and interested to see how the boys, especially Henry, would do.
The schedule included a tour of Quito by bus, trips to the historic centre, a ride in a cable car to a lookout high over the city, museum trips, and more – all in English of course. The highlights from an anthropological point of view however was a trip to the cinema. On the first day, Henry – as wide-eyed as he been throughout the long bus journey to Quito – was led through a shopping mall in awe. He wondered how anyone could find their way around, asking how we knew where to go. He was amazed that his guide (Base Manager Charlie Coupland), who had never been to this bizarre place before, could navigate the maze of brightly lit corridors and stairs. It drew strong comparisons with how we see his abilities in the jungle; you just have to know what to look for; he hardly saw the signposts nor did he recognize shops that we had passed. The escalator was another eye-opener. Having commented on the size of a television outside the cinema his face as he saw the cinema screen itself was priceless.
By the end of the week, both boys had a great time and fantastic experiences and memories to recount to families and friends, as well as a much more thorough understanding of this part of their country’s culture and history – the culture of Quito’s high sierra region being so very different from the culture of the Oriente, or Amazon region, where they have grown up. Henry even declared himself to be a “city man”. He was pleased that he had seen and learnt so much and was excited that his new knowledge, his lessons on formal English and table manners and his worldly experience would help him on the way to becoming a great jungle guide.
We were so pleased to be able to offer this experience to our boys, who had been such a great asset to our program as interns over the past 4 months.  We wish them the very best, and encourage them to study hard during this, their final year of high school, and have no doubt that they have the ability and drive to go on to fantastic things in the future, and we can’t wait to stay in touch and hear all about it!
Sep 17, 2012

Conversation Club is Empowering Local Women

Mondays through Thursdays a loud chatter can be heard coming from a normally quiet café as Nepali girls age 10-50 learn English through conversation with our volunteers.

Conversation club doesn’t start until 4:30 pm but the local girls start trickling in around 4. Pinky and Priya, sisters, arrive and immediately walk over to Brendan, a 20 year old Australian and greet him ‘you were sick yesterday.’ Brendan nods his head and replies in Nepali. The sisters giggle and introduce a friend who is joining the club for the first time.

It’s a typical start to conversation club and routines have quickly set in even though the group is only in its infancy. The conversation group was formed just two months ago in response to a local volleyball coach’s concern for his players. Most Nepalese learn to read and write English in school but they have little practice speaking which is vital when it comes to getting a higher paying job.

So far the club has seen regular attendance and new locals join each week as word spreads. Through conversation, doodles and the occasional vocabulary list volunteers and girls share cultures. As bonds form discussion topics progress from favorite foods and hobbies to religion and sometimes even dating.

So far the club has relied on an informal system of teaching English in which volunteers have created flashcards and practice worksheets to cater to individuals. Due to the success of the group more resources are being collected. The GVI hub in Thailand is working together with GVI Nepal to share resources and secure some English teaching books to cater to the girls who need to review the basics.

No matter the level of English, the hour of speaking and hanging out is just as enjoyable as it is educational. Pinkey, 19, says she couldn’t stop laughing one day while she was teaching Josh, a British volunteer, some Nepali. Meanwhile Priya, 18, is gaining self-assurance, she says she’s learned that ‘we should be more confident, we don’t have to be shy while talking with people.’

Sep 17, 2012

Precious Vision School Trips

Throughout term breaks, the GVI Mombasa team provides support to our local partners to ensure students are active and supervised while school is closed. The students work so hard throughout the school term, so holiday periods are a great opportunity to  have some fun and indulge in some trips.

Around 80 students of varying ages turned up each day for the holiday programme run by GVI and Precious Vision .We were able to take 30 children at a time on different outings to ensure that all the children got a chance to go. The first activity involved a trip to a local botanical and zoological park - Haller Park. The children spent a couple of hours walking through the park with a local guide who gave them information about the animals and the ecosystems as they went around.  The animals that they got to see include hippos, crocodiles, antelope and snakes. But, the main attraction was definitely the feeding of the giraffes!  The volunteers were on hand to help the children overcome their nerves about feeding the animals from their hands. By the end of the trip all of the students had conquered their fear and managed to feed a giraffe, (even if there was a lot of screaming!) Over the next few days we had outings to the beach and the smaller children got to go to the butterfly farm – the highlight being a play area consisting of swings and slides.

The highlight for the older students was The Mombasa Agricultural Show. This takes place yearly in the month of August at the Mombasa Show Ground in Nyali and is always visited by the president. There were hundreds of tents and stalls, most of the government departments had a stand showing how they have evolved over the years. One of the main attractions that the children loved was the “culture tent “displaying all the different traditional artifacts tribes make for varying celebrations and lifestyles. The students also got to sample “western” games such as video arcades and basketball games, and a (not so politically correct) “freak show” featuring “The shortest women in the world” a “Mermaid” and a “floating head” (a man under a table with his head sticking out).

One of the great things about the holiday program supported by GVI volunteers is that it exposes the students from slum areas to activities they would likely not otherwise experience. It is rather ironic that in a country so rich in wildlife, that most people living in a slum will never experience a safari park due to financial restraints. GVI volunteers taking students to trips such as Haller Park provides a wonderful opportunity to give the kids a safari experience or a cultural experience they would not otherwise be able to enjoy.

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