“By the way, could you please run our staff Professional Development Day?” This request concluded an email from an international school we were soon to visit. That email reinforced my thinking: the need to be VERY flexible during our On Track Discover trips, and the great need in overseas schools for help in all aspects of professional development, curriculum, teaching and staff support.
In Sept – Oct last year, our On Track Discover team visited a beautiful, mountainous country now emerging from its time under Soviet rule. Much has changed since then, yet much remains the same. We were able to observe both scenarios. We offered professional development at an international school and visited NGOs served by mission families at the school. It was truly a privilege to spend time with Interserve Partners, local NGOs and the school staff.
One particular NGO for children with Downs Syndrome had a major impact on all of us. The couple who founded this organisation have a daughter with Downs Syndrome who, they were told, would never speak, walk or interact. They were told to ‘put her away’. This was just eight years ago. In response, they embarked on a program to stimulate and encourage their daughter. They have now started a school and host support groups for parents. Currently, this NGO supports over 200 families. They are living proof that their faith and methods work because their daughter, now nine years old, is a student at an international school and can speak three languages – Russian, English, and the local language. How many can you speak?
Richard has led On Track Discover trips to Central Asia and the Middle East. He has years, and has a keen interest in supporting schools overseas.