I had a chat with Helle from Drakkar who helps organise their Creativity Boosts. If you like kids and being creative then it seems like a great way to get involved. Check out their Facebook page for more info.
Can you tell us a bit about Drakkar Ltd?
Drakkar is a social enterprise started by the Rwandan woman Lydie Hakizimana. She started it because of her passion to read and with a desire to spread a reading culture in Rwanda. She started by selling her own books and as that turned out very well she googled for the biggest publisher and she found Pearson with who she made a contract.
What do Drakkar Ltd do in Rwanda?
Drakkar Ltd supplies books to schools, higher educational institutes, teachers, students and other customers in need of learning books. Drakkar was founded in 2006 and is Rwanda’s exclusive distributor for Pearson, leading publisher for English language school books worldwide. In addition, Drakkar sells trade books, mass market paperbacks, children’s books and bargain books directly to customers.
Drakkar also started doing other activities such as teacher trainings to facilitate teachers in the use of books in their teaching and Drakkar recently launched the Drakkar Creativity Boost.
Where did the idea for the Drakkar Creativity Boost come from?
Drakkar has quality primary education as a vision. In working closely with schools, Drakkar has visited many schools and has experienced a lack of creative learning methods and learning through games. Further, not many “Kigalians” interact with schools and we thought that linking resourceful Kigalians to the schools could bring something to both sides.
What are the Creativity Boosts hoping to accomplish?
The Creativity Boosts want to create a different learning environment for children. It hopes to give the involved children an experience they will remember and that will broaden their view and increase their ability to think creatively. Besides that, Creativity Boost also hopes to involve school teachers and show them a different way of creating a space for learning. Finally the Creativity Boost hopes to develop new competencies and skills for the involved volunteers.
When and where are the Creativity Boosts?
The Creativity Boosts can take place anywhere where it is possible to gather between 30 and 50 children. However, as Drakkar is in contact with many schools, they will often take place on Saturdays at schools. Until now they are only in Kigali, but with time it might expand to other parts of the country.
What exactly is involved in a typical Creative Boost outing?
So it works like this. The volunteers will meet a couple of days before the actual Boost to prepare it. Here they will make a programme of games and exercises that matches the target group. Preferably with a mix of learning and fun. The volunteers decide themselves which activities to do and how they are facilitated and by who. Some games we have done so far are role play, origami, singing, story reading and word games.
We try to design the activities so that the children have to be creative and come up with new words or movements etc in the games. So as a volunteer you may expect to help designing the 2-hour programme together with other volunteers and also take part in executing it of course always together with other volunteers.
What sort of response have you gotten from the schools and orphanages you visit?
So far we have got very good response. The children are very committed to the games and exercises we introduce and as far as we can see many of the things we introduce are new to them. Also the teachers have been happy and have told us to come back.
How can volunteers get involved and what’s expected of them?
Volunteers can get involved by either writing to me, Helle, at [email protected] telling a bit about themselves and/or joining our Facebook group. We expect that they will join a Creativity Boost approximately one time per month and that they arrange them in groups. Through the good contact with schools, Drakkar helps finding the location for them and with ideas and experiences from former Boosts.
What are you hoping for the future of this program?
I hope that this program will involve a big group of volunteers so that Creativity Boosts can take place at the same time in many locations. I also hope that volunteers will be committed to the point where Drakkar involvement is reduced to organizing and communication.
Finally I hope of course that it will create a kind of snowball effect where teachers at the schools we visit get inspired and start using creative games in their own teaching.