Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Volunteers helping to restore education in class rooms throughout Port au Prince

Snow is falling in Northern Illinois this week and that gives Vicki Kessel a great opportunity to carry her computer outside and show the snow drifts to her English class in Haiti. Vicki lives 150 miles west of Chicago, and she loves her volunteer virtual teaching job. “The kids show up and are so eager to learn, I just love this work.”

For 3 months Vicki has been connected to classes of 10 to 20 students organized in Port au Prince by Teach the World Online, which started offering classes to children living in the tent cities three weeks after the earthquake and is trying to expand the classroom sites in Haiti as fast as donations will allow. Money is needed for the student classroom space rental, the internet access costs, and one laptop computer for each class, and speakers to plug in so the children can hear the teacher talking to them from the laptop screen.

Working with Teach the World online’s curriculum coordinator, Vicki has her daily lesson plans and works to engage the class, get them to speak to her and to each other in English. There is a class monitor who helps interpret and keep the class focused on the Haitian end. Children have lessons to take home, and “each one, teach one” is expected from the children, who have widely varying English skills.

It has been reported that 4000 schools were destroyed by the earthquake in Haiti. Free universal education is not offered, and tuition schools are too expensive for most children, so the children of Haiti are losing valuable years of education as they wait to see how and when their country will be rebuilt.
Vicki Kessel is logging on to Skype and hoping the connection will stay strong for her 4 PM Port au Prince class, because today they will be reciting some poetry, and singing a song they learned this week. She sees 6 faces in the small camera range, with 10 more behind, all eager to speak to her . She starts; “Hello Everyone, My name is Vicki, and I live in Illinois. What is your name, and where do you live?” In a later poling question she asks, “How many of you live in a tent?” On her monitor she sees all the hands go up, tent is an English word that everyone knows.
To see a class and hear a teacher starting a class of beginners go to:
Contact information:
Vicki Kessel

Justin Purnell

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Teach the World Online

Teach the World Online

Click on the picture and it will take you to the facebook page!

I've been writing about Haiti for about three years. I'm a supporter of several GREAT organizations who are making a difference in Haiti. From caring for those who are sick to caring for the children who have no where to go and spreading the word about many others who are making a difference. I try hard to make these people REAL. Because they are, all of them have names and all of them deserve love and support and accolades for what they are doing.
I've been asked to join Teach the World Online teaching students to speak English in Port au Prince. Now you may think speaking English is not that important but I want to tell you from the very first day I started teaching, I learned from the students what it was like to want to do something so bad that they would sit in the dark to get it done.
That's right. While we were having class, it got dark and there was no electricity. We communicate via Skype and they have a laptop that is hooked up to car batteries to make it run, when it got dark the only light in the room was from the monitor. I sat and looked at my computer monitor and all I saw was darkness. But I could still hear the excitment in their voices while we were practicing our vocabulary words. Have you ever wanted something that bad?
Would you like a school built with your name on it? Here is what I am asking my readers to do. Give money. For less than $1000 a new virtual classroom can be built. Why are we doing this? Well let me tell you....
An uncalculated number of professors, professionals and students were killed or fled Haiti after the earthquake, causing brain-drain of a critically needed people for the country and TWOL is reversing brain drain.

What makes Teach the World Online different? WE GET IT!
Unlike many other nonprofit organizations, we hire local Haitians in Port au Prince to work in our schools as teaching assistants and we stay here (except for the occasional visit of course). What’s more, we embrace the philosophy of the snowball effect. When each of the 150 students shares their knowledge with their family members, 500 lives will be changed! Even better than that our school is free to all the students who attend!

Teach the teacher is a concept that Teach the World Online will champion across the world, over the next years. Join us; give your money to build a virtual school in Port au Prince. If you can’t give your money, give your time and become a teacher!