Sunday, February 13, 2011

Students Reaching Out

Today I finally pulled up my socks and did something that I've wanted to do since getting here and just made a million excuses not to do... today I joined the small group of high school students who go weekly to a rehabilitation centre for poorer families. These families aren't all from the Ankara region, in fact many come from smaller villiages farther away. Their children have suffered some kind of mental or physical injury or illness and are in need of medical attention and a place where they can go to learn skills and ways to cope. The mothers come with their children and live there for up to 3 months at a time, often leaving behind other children and a husband at home. It's difficult to split the families, but for the love of their children in a society that doesn't recognize a need for special education in mainstream schools. I applaud their efforts and it was wonderful to go into this centre and spend some time with the high school students and these lovely Turkish children. More than one of them tugged at my heart strings with their gorgeous smiles and giggles. It felt good to go and give back to a part of my host country. I hope that others will find the time to do the same. The children really benefit from the one-on-one attention, and so do the mothers as they can take a small rest and watch their children smile and laugh. Anyway, I felt honoured to be a part of it and I can't wait to do it again. I also felt really proud to teach in a school that encourages the kids to do this kind of thing... giving back is a far better educational experience than sitting in any classroom!

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