Once again, here is another Toa Nafasi “Teacher Feature” in which we read about a Toa tutor in her own words.
Meet Imelda Urio who joined us in 2016 and who is now Head Tutor at our Msaranga Primary School site. It’s another of our Version 2.0 Teacher Features as the previous one posted about Imelda was quite outdated.
When I was a little girl in school, I used to love playing above all else. But I feared my teachers as I thought they really enjoyed caning us. One day, I got beaten up by a teacher to an extent that I refused to go to school for some time. Finally, my father decided to take me to school where I was supposed to ask for forgiveness in front of all the teachers in the office. I did not like that.
My dream was to become a project planner, and when I completed my O-Level in secondary school, I joined college and undertook project planning courses. Sadly I was unable to complete my studies because my parents could not pay for my tuition fees. I had a rough time back then and I really hated the situation due to the environment, so I started looking for a job.
I heard about Toa from my mother who heard from a teacher in Msaranga, also a fellow villager. I did some follow-up and then wrote a letter which was later accepted and I served my probation then I got employed. Then, my life changed drastically as I was able to help my parents as well as myself in an extent that I previously could not.
If I was not working with Toa, then my life would have been very difficult. I was already unable to continue with my studies, so I believe the worst could have followed. Maybe I would be doing small business or vending in the streets, or maybe just staying at home idle. I’m really grateful to be working with Toa.
I did not know much about Toa at first. I hardly knew what kind of kids that Toa dealt with, but I have a genuine love for children and I knew that Toa was helping children. That was the biggest factor for me aside from the fact that I needed work.
I had one child in my class who was really very slow and the regular teachers thought the child was impossible to help. But we never gave up; we kept trying and trying, and finally the child gained confidence. Then through the experience with that child, I learned that she was not really “slow” but did not have any self-esteem, so by giving her more time and trying to create a good relationship with her, we were able to build confidence in her.
Since joining Toa, my perspective towards life has really been changed for the better. I now support myself and my family and also I have learned to love in a different and unbiased way as I was used to “normal” kids. But now I involve myself with every kind of child, so that I can learn more about understanding their behavior and actions.
I will never forget the day that Lucy G., who was one of very slow kids in the Toa class, came to school and her face was filled with joy. She went straight to the board and started writing and then reading what she was writing. I then asked her how did she learn that, and she said her sister and her mother were helping to teach her. Then, her smile was instantly transferred to me as well.
I really urge all parents to love their children in an expressive way, and give them the chance to be heard. And I urge all the teachers to not segregate the kids and to treat them equally.