Saturday, March 17, 2012

News from Zoranje!

You may be interested to hear about several exciting developments in the community.

First and foremost, the recently opened Centre Communautaire Zoranje is up and running with a range of social, cultural, and educational activities. Situated adjacent to the Zoranje school, the community center complements the school’s mission by providing an additional place for social interaction and further learning for children, youth, and adults throughout the Zoranje community.

The center includes:
·         Voila cellular phone store
·         Cybercaf√©
·         Computer lab in which community members of all ages can enroll in computer and English courses
·         Library and education center
·         Two study and activity rooms and a community meeting room
o   Local youth groups are using these spaces to organize youth leadership activities and public performances for the community
·         Mother-Child clinic will open in April 2012 and will be operated by Partners in Health (PIH)

Prodev is collaborating with community residents to identify and prioritize new activities according to their needs and wishes. The community has expressed a desire for all kinds of activities including vocational trainings, languages, computers, sports, and arts.

A few recent highlights from current activities are described below.

Computer Class Graduation

We want to congratulate the graduating class of the Waveplace Zoranje. In the six week course, 20 students aged eight to 17 learned how to perform basic functions using the internet and Microsoft Word. They also learned how to design their own stories using the computer program ETOYS. During the graduation ceremony on March 2, 2012, students delivered presentations of their stories to their peers and family members. The graduating class also showed their family members how to use the computer programs that they had learned in the course. The students were taught by a team of four local professors from the community—Agenord Alain, Alexis Oberjo, Maeva Pierre, and James Vernelus—and earned a certificate for their participation and successful completion of the course. They hope to continue to improve their computer skills in future courses.

Conversational English Classes

In response to overwhelming demand from the community, conversational English classes will start next week for adult and youth community members. Registration this weekend saw an enthusiastic turnout of 74 people.  

The courses will be offered at three different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. At each level, courses will aim to provide community members with the tools to understand English grammar, augment their vocabulary, and effectively communicate in various settings, particularly in the workplace. The classes will emphasize a high level of peer-to-peer engagement and integrate music, games, and story-telling.

Sports Development Program

Lastly, we want to bring your attention to the ongoing hard work and success of the Zoranje sports development and training program which includes soccer and basketball. The community currently boasts a men’s (aged 18 to 20) and a girl’s basketball team (aged 16 to 18) and four soccer teams: men’s, secondary-school men’s (aged 15 to 18), primary school men’s (aged 10 to 14), and girls (aged 10 to 18). The teams are coached by local trainers Frantz Merazil and Billy Rafael. Through daily practice and weekend matches against visiting teams, the coaches aim to impart life skills such as work ethic, discipline, punctuality, and positive communication. The program also provides the technical training and conditioning to enable some players to reach higher levels of the game. The impacts of the program are apparent in the strong sense of team unity, dedication, and camaraderie among players. 

Recently, the youth teams received uniforms and soccer cleats thanks to the generous donations of the Afya Foundation and the Pacifica United Soccer Club from Pacifica, California. Special thanks to Frank Walley, Field Administrator, and Jen and Guy who made the delivery of the uniforms. Because of the large number of enthusiastic youth soccer players in the community, equipment and apparel are always greatly appreciated.