Jul 13, 2020

Overcoming the digital divide

“Our kids all live on less than R1500 a month,” says Adri Marais, Christel House South Africa CEO. “That is $75 USD per month.The COVID-19 lockdown makes a bad situation worse. “The first thing we’re trying to do is get food to our children. Connecting with students is also a challenge. “Data becomes the problem. You need data for the students to access their lessons from home. If you have no data, you can’t have any learning.” As students stay home, providing packages of broadband data is costly. Adri estimates it will cost $15,000 to provide data plans for 250 Christel House South Africa students for two months. Every $60 can help keep a kid learning. “Then you can connect to the world because connecting to the world seems obvious, but you need information,” she says. “Every time you try to do the work we do, the stark reality of the digital divide just gets wider and wider.”     

Apr 17, 2020

After school program offers more to learn

Christel House Mexico after school program
Christel House Mexico after school program

When the bell rings at the end of the school day at Christel House Mexico (CHMX), the learning doesn’t stop. More than 360 kids (over half the school’s students) stay to participate in a variety of after-school programs. 

The after-school hours give struggling kids a chance to get remedial support in English, Spanish or Math. For others, it’s a time toparticipate in soccer, basketball, yoga, music, dance,art, chessor robotics. Twelve teachers and staff supervisethe students. Macario Zamora, after-school coordinator, says the program keepskids off the streets and gives them the chance to develop new skills. Students canlearn something they can’t accessin their communities, like playinga musical instrument.” Veronica A., a fifth grader, appreciates the after-school one-on-one lessons with teachers. “I learn and better understand the subjects,” she says. Veronica’s mom also approves. “I’m very grateful with the attention she receives after-school,” she says 

 

Mar 20, 2020

Art and Science works together in India

Students pose with the art for the media room.
Students pose with the art for the media room.

Christel House India CEO Jaison Mathew had long wanted to improve the acoustics in the Bangalore school’s A/V room. He turned to students for a solution. Enterprising members of the 11th and 12th grade classes joined with art teacher Dhanaraj Keezhara to create a fix.

“We were able to apply our research-based knowledge of sound reflection and absorption to a create a 3D design,” explains 12th grade student Pooja P.It was an integration of science and art.” The students researched materials and design strategies that reduce noise pollution and echoes. Then they used their artistic talents to brainstorm a result that would not only resolve the issue but add a pleasing visual element to the room. In just two weeks they designed and executed a 3D wall installation created with sound dampening boards and foam. A group of Christel House India parents lent their skills helping students cut and package the acoustic artwork.  It was truly a community effort. The abstract wall mural is titled ‘The Sounds of Waves’ and has successfully reduced echoes. Dhanaraj shared his favorite part of the project: “The blending of art and science has both inspired and motivated the students.”   

 
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