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Impact In the Classroom, and Out

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Rylee Marchbanks has already helped REI’s work in Djibouti.

When REI staff get into relationships around the world, we expect good things to happen. As people who are committed to holistic transformation and motivated to engage deeply with others, this can mean challenging work, addressing issues of justice, healing communities, or breaking bread together.

Rylee Marchbanks joined REI’s work in Djibouti in February 2021. She is an REI apprentice who is using her talents as a teacher to engage students at the International School of Djibouti (ISD). ISD is one of the few internationally recognized schools in Djibouti. As leaders in English-based education for the country, they’re taking great strides to pioneer an educational institution that, with the support of REI and other partners, will be a standard bearer for schools into the future, a place of training for Djiboutian educators, and a template for developing noble-hearted, global citizens.

Rylee’s part in this has been to use her amazing teaching skills to take the reins of a middle-school math class. Here she encounters students from a variety of nations with multiple levels of English language competence. Students at several levels of math, speaking English at various levels, having all different kinds of cultural and family traditions can create significant challenges. Add to that being a newly arrived foreigner and teaching is no easy task! But Rylee has risen to the challenge and her students appreciate her care for them.

Rylee with Ms. Izzy

In addition to her contribution at ISD, Rylee engages in French language study, cultural training, leading swimming lessons, and volunteering with a women’s sports team. One of the main ways in which she fosters these extra-curriculars is through the relationships she’s developed with some of our Djiboutian teaching staff.

Ms. Izzy and Ms. Mariam have helped Rylee with cultural adjustment and language learning. Both women work as assistant teachers and language instructors at our school. They’ve shared life together, often in the Djiboutian marketplace or sharing a meal at home. They’ve really got each other’s backs! Thick as thieves, helping one-another through tough situations, even in the first couple months Rylee’s been here.

Rylee with Ms. Izzy and Ms. Mariam

Ms. Mariam and Rylee have worked together with a partner organization to help develop women’s athletics. REI has funded this project through the generosity of many REI donors. The “Girl’s Run 2” project tackles issues of education for young girls and the stigma girls face participating in athletics in Djibouti. By their lives and example, the women are helping to promote healthy lifestyles and the power of education to raise people out of economically depressed situations.

All in two months! What will Rylee do with the rest of her time here! Challenging discussions, issues of justice, healing communities, or breaking bread together, we’re looking forward to seeing great things from her. Rylee’s work is monumental in building people to build nations.

Would you be interested in joining REI staff and making a contribution like Rylee’s in Djibouti, or in another of our project countries? Click here.

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