As four IB schools, Uskudar American Academy, Enka, FMV Ayazağa Işık and Terakki, we have started a social responsibility project in order to fulfill the needs of our sister school Mithat Paşa Primary School. For the beginning of the project, we organized a trip to Edirne in an attempt to interact with the students in Mithat Paşa Primary School. We also determined the school’s needs while we were observing the school and spending time with the students. In order to introduce ourselves to the students and communicate with them, we did several activities: creating a postcard, making bracelets, singing&dancing, painting, playing kinball and designing bookends. Students from ages 7-13 were really enthusiastic to talk with us. This was a thing I realized when they surrounded me and asked many questions about the activities. It was fun to listen them and answer their questions. Since most of the students were smiling, I really enjoyed doing those activities and sharing my experiences with them.
They were also complaining about their school’s physical conditions. To this extent, I found this activity a bit challenging as well, because I couldn’t know what to say when they looked so upset and kept complaining about their school. I’ve learned that my emotional responses have an impact on my communication and reflection skills. When I felt so sad about the students’ problems, I lost my ability to speak and immediately started to think of solutions. However, knowing what we were going to do would help was a great feeling.
One thing that frustrated me was that the students lacked discipline and they weren’t respectful with each other. In addition, some of them didn’t know how to listen. There were times when I couldn’t manage to tell them to do a particular task. Especially some students were really difficult to control. When we asked their vice principle about this problem, he said that the majority of the students have been struggling with domestic abuse. As a result, the school management decided to grow soft on the students, at least, at school. I was both shocked and sorry to hear that. Once again, I apprehended how socioeconomic conditions could affect individuals’ lives.
When we returned to the hotel, we did a meeting at the convention hall. CAS coordinators from every school shared their opinions about the project. We discussed the needs of the school and listed to them. We also suggested ways to collect money in order to implement our goal. One problem about the trip was that we hadn’t had an opportunity to meet, as IB students, before the trip. Therefore, it was difficult to communicate with each other while we were also trying to communicate with the students. Since most of us have met, we know there will be a better atmosphere in our next visit to Edirne.
Hours Completed: 7