Sharing is Caring: Transforming Attitudes at TYO

The academic support program provides students between the ages of 9-13 with instruction in Arabic, Math, and English. Academic work is combined with interactive games to get children out of their chairs and learning on their feet. Some of the students who join the program face behavioral challenges and lack the necessary skills to resolve conflict. In this week’s interview with two brothers, Mohamed and Abdil, we learned how TYO’s programming teaches students that there are consequences to their actions and the value of sharing. These life lessons foster qualities that allow our students to become leaders in their own families and communities.

Brothers Mohamed and Abdil share a laugh between classes at TYO.

Brothers Mohamed and Abdil share a laugh between classes at TYO.

Welcome Mohamed and Abdil! Can you tell me about your family and the programs you are enrolled in at TYO?

Mohamed: I am thirteen years old and in the seventh grade.

Abdil: I am twelve years old and in the sixth grade.

Mohammed: We are from Khallet El Amoud neighborhood near TYO. Our father is originally from Jericho and our mother is from Asirah.

Abdil: We have a very big family! There are four boys and three girls. Our oldest sibling is 14 years old and the youngest is six years old.

Mohammed: Our sisters Jawal, Malak and Sajida are all in the Core Child Program. My brother and I are both in our second session of the academic support program.

Why did you decide to join the academic support program and what do you like about it?

Abdil: My brother and I joined the academic support program because we needed extra help in English. I always hated English class because it is not my first language and I cannot understand it or why we have to learn it at school. I do not even understand the questions on my English exams, so how am I supposed to answer them?  The books at school are also very boring and the classes are taught in Arabic most of the time, so how am I supposed to use the language? At TYO, the instructors give us worksheets with pictures to learn new vocabulary and the volunteers are always be there to help when I do not understand.

Mohamed: Unlike Abdil, I like to work on my own and only when I am really stuck on a question will I ask the volunteers for help. I like math and now that I am getting better at it, I always help my twin sisters in the first grade with their homework. At school, we just sit and listen.  At TYO, we learn through playing and having fun.

Abdil: Math and English are hard subjects for me and my parents cannot really help me with my homework. Even though my mom completed high school, it was a long time ago and it has been a long time since she has had to do homework. We like coming to TYO because we get to learn new words in English and how to solve math problems by playing fun games.

Have you noticed any changes in yourselves since you started coming to TYO?

Mohammed: I used to be very angry and I would get into fights with other students for no reason. It has been a long time since I have gotten into a fight and I think it is because TYO has taught that there are consequences to my actions. I am much more positive and I have learned a lot about sharing at TYO. Before when I had candy or a toy, I would keep it for myself. Now I will always share whatever candy and toys I have with my bothers and sisters.

Abdil: I am doing way better in school thanks to the academic program, my grades have improved and I participate in class much more than it used to be. I am excited to answer questions and will even volunteer to write on the board.

What are some of your best memories at TYO?

Mohammed: I made two friends last session from the Old City and the new Askar camp. Before coming to TYO, I did not have any friends from the camps. Now I know many students from the camps and last session we all went swimming together! It was my favorite memory at TYO with out a doubt!

Abdil: I also made a friend from the new Askar camp and his name is Saleh. I really love Thursdays at TYO because every week it is a free day and we get to do water games, play football, and have competitions outside!

Ahmed and Amir are participants in the After-School Academic Support for Kids program sponsored by Relief International. 

Interview conducted by Marina, Fall 2016 Teaching and M&E Fellow, and translated by Futoon, TYO Outreach Coordinator.