A Dominican teacher who sacrifices summer break for her students

Post Summary: 

Scarlett teaches elementary school in the Dominican Republic. This World Teachers' Day, see how we are working with teachers like Scarlett to help new first-grade students be successful at reading … by doing something that hadn’t been done before.

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This past summer, World Vision’s USAID Read project staff asked Scarlett Gómez, a Dominican public school teacher, to do something really challenging. We asked her to give up part of her summer vacation to volunteer at a Summer Club that would help students transition smoothly into first grade and stay on track in literacy.

Why is that such a big request? Other than the fact that summer vacations are regarded as sacred by all teachers around the world, there are two key challenges in the Dominican educational context.

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    “I want to be a painter in Paris”: Literacy helps children dream

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    Jennifer is in the second grade in Nicaragua, and her dream is to become a painter in Paris when she grows up.

    This International Literacy Day, see how one of our programs combines reading and nutrition to help ensure bright futures for children like Jennifer!

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    Today is the 50th anniversary of the UN International Literacy Day. We’ve come a long way—in 1957, UNESCO reported 44% global illiteracy, and today that number is down to 15% of the world’s population. But there is still much to do—that 15% represents 758 million adults who cannot read or write.

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      The beautiful sound of the cemetery

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      13-year-old Nyein Mar's family lives in a cemetery in Myanmar. Ostricized by society, they have no where else to go. Focused on surviving each day, they have no hope for their children's future.

      Though at first the schools wouldn't allow Nyein Mar to attend, see how her education is changing her future and giving her hope of breaking free of her family's poverty.

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      Nyein Mar reads her lessons out loud. She recites the poem she just learned in school. Her sweet voice lingers around the graves. It is the unusual sound of the cemetery, filled with wailing cries.

      Cemeteries may be unpleasant places for some people, but it is where Nyein Mar’s life is. It is her home. It is her playground, too. It is a place where she grows and makes friends. More precisely, it is her world.

      For Nyein Mar, the graves, the cries, the grief, and the sorrow are all too familiar.

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        Do not forget us

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        16-year-old Miranda Wolford had the opportunity to visit refugee children in Southeast Asia this summer. Hear her plea on behalf of children like these for us—organizations, governments, global citizens—not to leave them behind, and how vital education is to their futures.

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        “Do not forget us,” the principal and students of the junior college pleaded to our group of international volunteers. Situated on the Thailand-Myanmar border, the junior college at the Mae Ra Moe Luang refugee camp serves to provide a quality education to children who have come from all over Southeast Asia to escape hardship and conflict.

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          Debbie Macomber: A love story

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          Over the course of her illustrious career, best-selling author Debbie Macomber has written hundreds of stories. Today, she is the main character.

          The supporting characters of this story are a Microsoft VP, World Vision, and the girls of a school in Kenya.

          Read our story of determination, passion, and heart!

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          This is a story about author Debbie Macomber, a book, and a group of readers nearly 9,000 miles away.

          It features gritty determination, passion, and heart.

          Just like one of her stories.

          Chapter One

          Debbie Macomber’s books are loved. She is a #1 New York Times best-selling author with more than 170 million copies of her books in print.

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            Warm clothes help Denisa follow her big dream

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            Can new warm clothes during a cold winter help put a good student back on track to following her dreams?

            Yes! Read how.

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            Twelve-year-old Denisa has a big dream. She wants to finish school and find a way out of the grinding poverty that affects so many people in her rural Romanian community.

            Though she excels in school—always one of the students near the top of her class—her dream is still in jeopardy.

            First, her mother had to leave the family to go find work in Italy. Their roof is sagging and Denisa’s father, Marcel, who finds what work he can as a day laborer or building chimneys, doesn’t earn enough money for those repairs.

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              Literacy begins before school

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              Today is International Literacy Day!

              In eastern Burundi, an initial reading assessment of 560 school children revealed that only 26 percent of second graders are able to read and differentiate consonants from vowels.

              For some children, this is changing. Mugisha, a five-year-old first grader, is one of them. He knew how to write and read before he started primary school, thanks to World Vision.

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              “Hey, Cynthia, guess! What is this letter written like this? Look!” 5-year-old Mugisha says to his older sister.

              Marie, Mugisha’s mother, still remembers how her son learned to write and read: by repeating what he learned in a World Vision reading camp. It was also by giving puzzles to his sister Cynthia, who had already started primary school. Mugisha wrote in the air, using his small and short index finger, and asked his sister to guess which letters he was writing, Mugisha’s mother recounts.

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                A way out of illiteracy

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                Celebrate World Book and Copyright Day with us today!

                After a survey found that more than 40% of school children in a district of Ethiopia couldn't read, World Vision piloted a reading camps program. Read how these camps are transforming literacy and the lives of children in Ethiopia, and our plans for the future!

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                According to a reading skill assessment conducted by World Vision and Save the Children, more than 40 percent of primary school children in Wonchi, Ethiopia are unable to read or identify between letters, consonants, and vowels.

                4th-grader Dawit confirms: “I only knew the A, B, C, but could not read texts. I did not know the difference between consonants and vowels. When I took text exams, I used to answer by guess.”

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                  Opportunity in broken chalk

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                  As a sponsored child, Amina – 11, from Tanzania – is able to go to school. But her siblings aren’t as fortunate. To help give them a future, too, she collects pieces of broken chalk along what she learns and brings it all home to teach her siblings herself!

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                  Ordinarily, broken chalk never meant much to most children, except perhaps for the purpose of pelting one another with the fragments. While most fifth-graders dash out of class and head home, 11-year-old Amina and a few others linger behind, quickly gathering leftover chalk from the day’s lessons.

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                    Protection through education

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                    One of the best ways to protect children from dangers like trafficking, child labor, and early marriage is to educate them, keeping them in school rather than on the streets. In India, World Vision's drop-in centers are designed to do just that: opening the door to mainstream schools.

                    Here are the stories of two children – Naina, 7, and Ankit, 6 – who found their way into formal education through these drop-in centers.

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                    Naina

                    Life was not easy for Naina and her family. Naina’s father traded her and her siblings for a new life and new family in Delhi. Abandoned and left to take care of six children, Naina’s mother, Shoba Devi, had nowhere to go except for her parent’s home in the slum settlements of Patna.

                    With survival being their priority, Shoba started working as a casual laborer. Her children’s education didn’t take precedence in Naina’s home. Naina was free to run her life and do what she wanted.

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