This week a miracle happened. 280 Sharp scientific calculators arrived at our school.
Thanks to a dear friend Dale, who busted her butt to get the donation from Sharp Canada and then arranged the shipping, they arrived by air in a 95kg crate on Thursday. And believe me, it was the talk of the village!
Up to now, calculators have been a major issue for my learners. Very few students can afford their own calculator. For most villagers, the cost of a calculator, N$120 ($17 cdn), is more than their weekly income. And so, the kids are forced to share the calculators that myself and past volunteers have purchased for the school. During tests and exams, they are sharing 1 calculator between 9-10 students. Naturally, this makes success in advanced math very difficult. Imagine doing a trigonometry test without a calculator! And with their exams worth 70% of their grade, success is IMPOSSIBLE without one.
So, when I announced to the grade 8,9 and 10 students that they would each get their own calculators, they cheered and clapped. One learner approached me after class and said “Madam, now that we have our own calculators, math will be easy!”.
We have decided to charge each learner ten Namibian dollars ($1.50 cdn) so that they have some responsibility and ownership of them. We will use the money raised to buy much needed toner for the school photocopier.
Words can’t express how thankful I am to Dale (and her husband,Dan) for their desire to help and the effort put forth to make this happen. They have helped achieve something very rare: making success a possibility for these students. And I am so fortunate to be involved!