$5000 left in matching funds–can you donate now (even $5)?

Please donate here–50% matching funds for one-time donations. Monthly donations are being matched at 200%!

This is our first year doing the tutoring program, but the 11th year that Aumazo has faithfully and patiently stayed the course to change girls’ lives in Bankondji, Cameroon. We are #76 on the Global Giving list. Donate to support whole-child teaching practices that are changing girls’ (and families’) lives.

#GivingTuesday Aumazo Open House (and donation day)

This coming Tuesday, November 29, I will be hosting an Aumazo open house from 6:30-8:30 pm at my home in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Please stop by to enjoy some wine, cheese, and Cameroonian coffee, as well as have a conversation with founder and CEO of Aumazo (Jacqueline Audigé), and myself.

If you don’t have the address, contact me here and I will send it to you!

The reason for having the open house on the 29th in particular is that it is the GLOBAL GIVING BONUS DAY #GivingTuesday. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match up to $1 million in donations on November, 29 2016 from 12:01 am EST until 11:59 pm EST. This means there will be a  50% match with $500,000 in matching funds.
If you can’t make it to the open house, please do consider donating on that day from your own home or your smartphone. We really need your donations in order to keep the program going this year. You can donate here.
Below you will find the update Jacqueline wrote last week in honor of Thanksgiving. Enjoy!
We Give Thanks for Small Things
By Jacqueline Audige – CEO/Founder

Collaboration is key to the success of our program

Collaboration is key to the success of our program

It has always been the tradition at Aumazo to give thanks for the little things that people do and say about our work. The Board and Staff consistently pass on the spirit of appreciation to the people we encounter along the way. It is always an enjoyable feeling when the lesson becomes a teaching moment for all us. It happened last November 8, 2016 and we had an occasion to celebrate our achievements.While many of us were out casting our vote for our preferred presidential candidate, a representative of the fathers of girls in our tutoring program in Bankondji renewed his vote of confidence to Aumazo.

We received a congratulatory phone call from the Deputy Mayor on behalf of all the fathers and parents in the village. He said: “I am calling to congratulate Aumazo on behalf of all the parents for the wonderful tutoring program you brought to our girls in the village. We are very happy with the positive impact it is already having on them. They are really thriving in the structure Aumazo set in place. I also want to renew our commitment to safeguard the program to you.”

This is such a memorable and unbelievable moment for which we are very thankful. It is a great testimony to the work that we are doing in Bankondji Cameroon. It is also the answer to the questions we had had about the program since it began. During the start-up of the tutoring program in August, we wondered how people in the village would perceive the program. Although the girls welcomed it, we were not sure that it would get their parents’ support.

Nevertheless, when we met with the fathers, they vowed to support and protect the initiative. The world that we are accustomed to allows us to believe that they would honor their promise. However, in our wildest dreams, we would have never imagined that we would receive a thank you phone call from a parent.

The surprise call was sweet and heartwarming. We know that we render meritorious service but we do not expect to receive such due recognition with appropriate rewards such as the phone call from a parent in distant Bankondji, Cameroon.

We dedicate the moment to you. You made it happen with your unprecedented support. We thank you for standing by us and for holding Aumazo in great esteem. The phone call triggered a chain of positive reactions. We are now planning to organize a task force composed of these parents in the village. We also know that we can count on their support as stakeholders. It really gives us a peace of mind and a great confidence in the success of the program.

We are confident that the tutoring program“Ça Fait Du Bien/It Makes Good”will meet his goal of enabling 34 7th and 8th grade girls in Bankondji village develop their academic skills in reading comprehension or math and allowing them to pass the entrance exam required to enroll in Cameroonian high schools.

Their success will be the expression of your gift through GlobalGiving: http://goto.gg/17229. We are not giving you thanks only on Thanksgiving, but throughout the year for all the little things you do. We are very grateful to you for your contribution to the Aumazo success.

We count on your generous support to make our season of giving that starts on #GivingTuesday November 29, 2016 and ends with the Year-End fundraising campaign on December 31, 2016, a great success. We want you to know that your lasting support is valuable to help Aumazo continue to climb higher up on the ladder to success.

We thank you for all that you do to strengthen our cause.

Sincerely,

~Jacqueline Audigé and the Board

The father who surprised us with a phone call

The father who surprised us with a phone call

A Washington Post article about…. Aumazo!

I’ve been reading lots and lots of Washington Post articles about the presidential election, as you may have been doing as well, but this is a different kind of article because Aumazo has been written up! This may be just what you need to read to get the bad taste of misogyny and political shenanigans out of your mouth.

I am particularly thrilled to see this new publicity as we prepare for our Friendly Aumazo Evening this Friday. I will write up a report of the evening here on the blog over the weekend.

I was fortunate enough to have been part of a conference call last week in which Jacqueline and I talked with Carrie Handwerker and Sara Herald in order to clarify details about the project and ensure that they truly understood the Cameroonian context before deciding what advice to give. It was a great conversation, and this article is the result of that work. See the article here.

I got to talk via FaceTime today with the group of girls  who are in the program today , and what a thrill! I’ll save what I learned for our Friday evening gathering (and my subsequent reporting of it here)… but suffice it to say that my mood, which has been somewhat low over the past few days because I miss kids*–was immediately restored. Seeing their faces, hearing their voices and their laughter, and discovering that they are looking forward to seeing me in January just as I am looking forward to seeing them, restored in full my sense of connection and purpose.

I am deeply grateful. Thanks be to God.

*Working with adults is fun, and I’m delighted to have one-on-one adult students, but I’m a teacher because I love kids… and I’m used to having groups of kids around me all day. Running my own business is very different. I look forward to a future in which I have groups of kids (whether homeschool kids or kids in an afterschool program) each and every day. 

A Friendly Aumazo Evening – this Friday October 14th

Here’s the letter I sent out to invite people to our evening this Friday. If you are in the DC area, please consider attending! It will be an informal affair at Jacqueline’s house–email me with your RSVP and we can talk.

******************

Dear friends,

As many of you know, I was in Cameroon in August working with a small non-profit (Aumazo, Inc) that is working to build a high school for girls in a rural area in the West. I was there to train a group of teachers as we launched an after-school tutoring program for 7th and 8th graders — to help them prepare for the exam that’s needed to actually get into high school.
So many people have expressed interest in hearing more about the time I spent there, and about the program as a whole, that I suggested we host an evening event to talk about the program and show photos and videos of our time there, as well as provide an update about how the program is going now.
We will be serving Cameroonian appetizers/finger food (and let me tell you, I had some of the best food of my life while I was there)!  Please come, and share the invitation with your friends!
Here is the invitation:
Come join Jacqueline Audigé, Founder and CEO of Aumazo Inc., and Anna Gilcher, PhD, Academic Director, for a Friendly Aumazo Evening. We will share photos and videos of our Tutoring Program “It Makes Good/Ça fait du bien” with you. We will discuss and update you on the progress of the program since its launch in August 2016. Bring family, friends, and those who could help us find funding for the project.
 
Friday, October 14th 
6:30 pm (Appetizers); 7:00 pm (Start of program)
 
RSVP by October 11 to anna.gilcher (at) gmail.com
If you can’t come but would like to find out how you can show your support, contact me and we’ll figure out a way for you to be involved. One way that we would particularly appreciate your help is if you have good funding contacts–as most of you know, we have been running this program with no real funding, and as successful as we have been, we do need some more significant backing.
Warmly,
Anna

Comprehensible Midwest!

Rachelle and I are posing here with Grant Boulanger, co-founder of the conference

On Saturday, Rachelle and I presented at the inaugural Comprehensible Midwest (CIMW) conference, once in the morning and a double session in the afternoon. Our presentation was a repeat of the one we did last July at NTPRS in Reno: “Creating Diversity-Positive Characters in your TPRS/CI Stories.” I was really impressed with the organization of this conference. I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my time and have done a good bit of event organizing myself, and it’s hard to believe that it was organized so quickly or that this was the first time the conference had happened. Everything was beautifully set up, from the emails we received before hand to the fully hyperlinked schedule to the logo to the t-shirts many of the organizers were wearing. In addition, every participant received two coupons for free books, one from TPRS Publishing and the other from TPRS Books, and we were also offered free online goodies from Fluency Fast.

I was deeply honored to have been asked to be part of the first-ever CIMW conference, and for our session to speak directly to core elements of the mission, which is as follows:

The Comprehensible Midwest Conference empowers teachers to create joyful, effective and equitable language acquisition through instruction based on comprehensible input. As a collaborative community, we safely support teachers to connect with each other and to teach in ways that respond to students’ cultural and linguistic identities.

Our guiding principle in offering this session (and in the work we do as teachers) is that Students deserve to see positive representations of themselves and those they love… both as they are now and as they could be in the future.

We can’t know what a student (or any human) is walking into the room with or as. Who is this person now? What is he struggling with? What are the different pieces of her identity? Who will she be in the future? Who is in the student’s circle of care—that is, who is important in his life? Our classroom needs to create space. When our students walk into the room, they need to know that all humans will be honored and upheld.

This means that we must be attentive to our own bias as we work to create a safe space for every one of our students to learn and grow and become. As Rachelle said on Saturday, when we walk into a situation, the question to ask rather than “do I have bias?” is “what is my bias?” This is the deep work of justice that begins in each one of us.

Although the numbers in our sessions were small, the feedback was excellent and there was a depth to the sharing that I found powerful. People were grateful to have a space in which to explore these questions and to have clear and practical steps to take to improve their practice. One woman, a committed diversity-positive educator herself, thanked us for our presentation and explained that she had not been expecting to learn a lot that was new, since she has long been engaged in this work—but she learned a lot. I know I have learned and grown daily in the collaboration I have had with Rachelle over the past seven years, and working on this presentation/workshop has pushed me forward as well.

In the evening we went to a celebration party at Haiyun’s house (one of the organizers), and I found myself having a depth of conversation there that is rare at parties.

I’m still glowing from being in Milwaukee—and feeling awake, enlivened, and grateful.

If you’re a language teacher in the DC area and you’re eager to participate in one of our diversity workshops, consider signing up for our 6-part job-embedded professional development series on “Teaching With Comprehensible Input: The Why, What, and How” — we will not only be giving a more in-depth version of this workshop, but we will be weaving this diversity-positive approach into the entire series.