The Ota Initiative
We are thrilled to share that the inaugural program of The Ota Initiative was launched in December 2013 and had a wonderfully successful first run. The Ota Initiative was created by two Amizade alums, Becky Gailey and Katy Merckel, as part of their Amizade semester in Tanzania during the spring of 2013. Through the initiative, Becky and Katy along with their partners in Tanzania, hope to give the children of Karagwe, Tanzania a place to build a foundation of creative and critical thinking skills through arts and science programs, teaching children key skills while encouraging them to think about the world around them and how they interact with it. The Initiative targets elementary school children in Karagwe during their school breaks in December and June.
As the program progressed, Becky and the teachers saw real growth as the students became more eager to write, draw and learn. “It is amazing how much progress children can make in a few days with just some positive reinforcement,” Becky stated in her blog update. The second part of the program will run again this June, adding to, and reinforcing the lessons from the first experience. The Ota Initiative also plans to run a program for secondary school students focusing on lab practicals for chemistry, biology and physics as students do not often have access to these opportunities in schools.