Posted on May 10, 2016

Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) is working to “transform the lives” of thousands of children in Tunisia, according to the organisation’s Executive Director. Its ‘My Education…My Hope’ project, co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by Islamic Relief, aims to improve the quality of education and teaching in the Medenine Governorate. The initiative is set to impact more than 11,700 students, train 394 teachers, and benefit 18,400 mobile library and 100,800 public library users.

ROTA’s Executive Director, Essa Al Mannai, said: “ROTA believes in the basic right of quality education and, through projects such as ‘My Education…My Hope’, we are working to transform the lives of the children of Tunisia. Many of the schools in the Medenine Governorate lack the basic requirements needed to ensure a suitable learning environment. Therefore, by providing the necessary tools and infrastructure, we are hoping to significantly enhance the quality of education in the region and facilitate a rich and effective learning experience for children and teachers.”

Formed as part of ROTA’s Gala Dinner 2015 projects, the initiative was established to address the educational needs of students living in the underserved Medenine Governorate through the building of schools and libraries, and the deployment of innovative technology. The majority of the facilities in the region lack basic infrastructure and learning resources, which has resulted in a drastic decline in students’ active involvement in educational activities. In addition to construction and the introduction of new technologies, the project is helping to breathe new life into educational and recreational facilities at 14 existing schools in the region. Restoration of these facilities is vital to ensuring a safe and aesthetically pleasing learning environment.

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The project, which launched in January 2015, has carried out work at El-Kharrouba School, benefitting around 400 students, and Rue L’Hopitale School, improving the lives of a further 415 children. Both facilities have seen major improvements to the schoolyards, latrines and stadiums. Green spaces have been expanded for children to enjoy outdoor activities, and proper bathroom facilities and access to running water has been installed, while also making provision for children with special needs.

Mr Mongi Mabsout, Headmaster at El-Kharrouba School, said: “Our school has become an attraction to the local community. I have parents contacting us looking to move their children to El-Kharrouba since the facilities have been improved. It’s like we have a brand new school. I am very grateful to ROTA for making such a positive impact on the lives of the children, and giving them the chance to be actively involved in the restoration efforts.”

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On completion of the renovation works, an ‘I Decorate My School’ day was held, giving children the opportunity to play an active role in the restoration efforts. During the event, students helped to paint classroom walls and decorate the school grounds with colourful, recycled plastic goods. In addition to the improvement of facilities, ICT resources being implemented across schools and libraries are ensuring that students have access to modern technologies, thereby increasing their academic skills and interest in learning.

The programme has invested in training 64 teachers to equip them with the necessary skills to tutor students and library users on the practical applications of the ICT tools. The topics, geared at improving knowledge in advanced teaching methods, include: ‘The Use of Tools in Libraries Management’; ‘Administrative and Financial Management’; ‘Animation’; and ‘The Use of Modern Sciences’. Through this initiative, ROTA, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), is significantly transforming the learning experience for students and teachers by providing resources and access to modern technologies and upgraded facilities.