Classroom Role Models

| Aug 03, 2020

Classroom Role Models

For decades, Kiwanis clubs worldwide have given back to their communities through service projects at schools: new playgrounds, book readings, tutoring sessions and Terrific Kids and Bring Up Grades awards ceremonies, just to name a few. As Kiwanian Marie Madeleine Obona Njana, a teacher at a special education school in Cameroon, puts it, children who receive these donations — of supplies, time, resources — “remain impressed for a long time.”

Hear more about the benefits of volunteering in schools from three Kiwanians who serve children in their professional lives too, as teachers.


“I am a special education teacher in an inclusive school called ‘Les Séranges.’ This special care school sometimes receives, as donations, the expertise of specialists for the care of children with disabilities, educational outings and other donations.

Taking care of a child requires ‘a village.’ The children received gifts during a Christmas party from Kiwanis and from another international organization, Samaritan's Purse. This gesture gave the children immense joy because they are mostly underprivileged. Through these gifts, they see themselves and their families as people who also matter to others. For me, as a Kiwanian and a teacher, I feel it is useful to accomplish a noble task to those who need it, to revive the bruised hearts of children in particular, and families in general.”

Marie Madeleine Obona Njana
Kiwanis Club of Yaoundé, Cameroon, Africa

“I remember the help that our volunteer friends gave to two young students, Maël and Hélène, who joined us as the school year was already underway.

We’d been back to school for more than 3 months and we received, in January, the request to welcome a young 9-year-old student, Maël, whose sick mother was undergoing medical treatment in Paris and who was joining the CE2 class (third year of elementary school). Maël was entrusted to his aunt. Hélène followed her parents, who underwent a professional transfer. She was joining the CM1 class (fourth year of elementary school).

In bookstores, there were no more class manuals and books for these two students. We informed the pupils in the classes the two incoming pupils were joining about the difficulties the parents had in securing the class material, and more specifically the schoolbooks.  

Immediately, the classes mobilized, the students relayed the information to their parents, who mobilized their networks and the day that followed, Maël and Hélène attended school equipped with all the necessary supplies and schoolbooks.

Without the mobilization and help of our volunteers, these two children would not have been able to start their education properly and their adaptation would have been more difficult.”

Bernadette Sambar-Allen
Kiwanis Club of Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, Eastern Canada and the Caribbean District


“In our regions [in Africa], conditions are not always aligned for a child to thrive on the three levels of harmonious development: knowledge, knowing how to be and know-how. It is essential to provide quantitative and qualitative assistance to help a child develop.

For example, a soccer field — designed according to FIFA standards — was donated to our school in January 2020 by an association. This field will help develop several qualities in children. In terms of knowledge, the child will learn how to play soccer. This could be the start of a profession. He will learn to run and to jump, and this will contribute to his physical development. And in terms of knowing how to be, he will learn to thrive in the community, and he’ll develop his team spirit and learn to overcome any egocentrism by taking others into consideration.

All in all, the help of outside people can only be welcome for the full development of children in our school.”

Omar Tofick
Kiwanis Club of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Africa
Teacher at the SINYIRI C School of Ouagadougou


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