By Tom Jones, Country Leader, Djibouti
At REI we look to have a broad impact in communities. Sometimes our influence seems small in comparison with the global realities and huge issues facing the governments and communities we serve. One way in which we try to broaden impact is through training others to train others. Two opportunities for this have blossomed this year in Djibouti.
REI is partnering with the national teacher training center to develop English language teachers, specifically helping them with their English fluency while addressing issues related to teacher training curriculum. We’ve also helped them develop an early childhood psychology program as the government aims to bring English into the earlier grades. Abdillahi, one of the key directors of the English teacher training program says, “REI has been a strategic partner in developing the next generation of teachers for Djibouti!” These are key relationships REI hopes to foster as we build people to build nations.
Not only in the city but also in the rural areas of Djibouti, REI’s broadening impact is growing. One place we’re seeing this is in refugee camps. The educational realities refugees face are huge hurdles for generations of youth growing up displaced from their home countries by war and ecological disasters. Djibouti, per capita, has more refugees than any other country in the world. With war and drought ravaging the regions of Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Eritrea, the number of refugees in the last two years has more than doubled. With donations of educational supplies and blankets we’ve received to distribute, we’ve helped relieve the significant immediate emergency needs of a number of families.
However, as a part of the REI calling, we cherish the opportunity to train and develop these refugees as well. Because of our main project in English education, the International School of Djibouti, we’ve been able to host a number of refugee camp “graduates” at our school for continued education and professional training. One of these individuals, “Ali,” has decided to go back to the camp and use some of the professional skills and English language skills gained at school to launch a school of his own. We continue to support him through small donations of school supplies as well as technical training for building up his educational offerings for students. We’re hoping to open a new classroom with him in the fall.
Whether training teachers for the national system or working within the private sector to develop individuals’ ability to serve others, REI is multiplying our resources to impact as many as possible.