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Appeal for help with Volunteer Programme in the Phillipines

April 25, 2010
By Kate Erickson

My name is Kate Ericksen, and as well as currently teaching primary school kids technology in Motueka, I run an international volunteer organisation called Kids Worldwide, and am helping with the set up of a music, art and technology school in Davao, Southern Philippines, to offer out-of-school tuition to the children who are in the local orphanages in the area.

For those of you who get the local Guardian newspaper, there was an article about me in this week's issue (April 21st), but it was not so clear what my current focus is on, so I still have to get the word out there by other means as well. I will be returning for 3 weeks to the Philippines at the end of June and want to carry some items over with me.

In December 2009, I carried over 9 violins, recorders and a French horn that had been donated from the Christchurch School of Music to start tuition to the kids in 2 orphanages - a boys childrens home called Field of Dreams, and a home for the indigenous children of the area called Pag-Amoma.

We partnered with Agdao Violin Institute, the only violin school in Davao to enable the students to receive weekly tuition at the orphanage. 20 of the 60 kids in the childrens homes wanted to learn, so they share the violins and are encouraged to practise every day.

Because there are not many violins or teachers in Davao, it is actually the older 16 and 17 year old violin students at Agdao who teach the kids in the childrens home. The kids have been receiving tuition since January, and there are already a couple of boys who are showing special talent.

Due to interest by kids in the local area now, we wish to expand the music lessons to offer it to children in the area as well, but we don't have sufficient musical instruments.

I was wondering if you may have old and unused instruments that you may be able to donate for me to carry over again when I go back for 3 weeks at the end of June. They can be any instrument, but violin is especially popular at the moment. I myself am a wind instrument player and taught recorder and flute when I was over there on the Xmas holidays.

Please would you be able to spread the word around amongst your friends and any musicians you may know in the area and let me know if there is any interest or people who have instruments that they may like to donate? It does not matter if they are a little bit broken. We can get them fixed there.

Also, we are trying to organise a mobile laptop lab which will go around the local schools and orphanages in the area to complement the school programmes. We need 15-20 laptops to start the programme off. In the evenings, the laptops will be used by the teachers to enhance their professional development and assist in programme preparation.

If you have an old laptop hiding around the house somewhere, even if it no longer works, if you just let us know what happened and why you think it doesn't work anymore as well, then we will take it and try to find someone who can help us to fix them up as a donation.

You can read more about the project that we are establishing, by going to the Kids Worldwide website

I would love to hear from you, if you could help out in any way.

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