My Experiene with the READ Project - McPeter Mutanga
My dream is to be happy, no matter what. Being happy is the key to life!
My name is Mcpeter Mutang'a. I am a student at Kenyatta University and currently in my third year of study. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Education (Special Needs Education). I want to teach and influence education policies for learners with special needs. I would like to start my own school for people with special needs. This is my priority and it would not be for money, but to produce learners who are confident, go getters and can be able to maneuver the challenges life has to offer.
I learnt about the International Transformation Foundation (ITF) through a friend of mine who was volunteering with the organization. I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in a project dubbed the READ PROJECT. The project involved doing a research on the state of literacy levels in our country and then do a presentation in Palermo, Italy.
See, one thing about me is that I do not want to fall into the norm, where I have to work the 8-5 kind of hours, struggling to make some money where I have a family and struggling to make ends meet then finally retire and wait for my sunset years. No. I want to experience everything that life has to offer and not from a tourist point of view but the true, raw and unfiltered version of it. Everything from talking to a random person on the street to going to space. I want to deeply explore the teaching profession and more specifically in the areas of special needs education and policy making. I consider myself quite lucky for discovering what passions I hold dear early in life. I digress.
The READ Project intertwined with my interests and I thought it a great opportunity to put what I had learnt in class to practice. The project aimed at promoting a reading culture to young people in an integrated and creative manner, through local and mobility activities. It addressed the problem of illiteracy, the risk of school dropouts and lack of interest that young people have towards reading. It targeted the marginalized youngsters, stimulating their interests in reading as a way to open up their imagination using non-formal methodologies by offering cultural and creative activities.
Every partner country was supposed to have a local contest that showcased different local teams’ methods used to promote reading. Fortunately for me, our team won the local contest for Kenya. This win gave our team the opportunity to travel to Austria for the READ International Workshop and Festival. I have to admit that traveling outside of the country is one of my biggest dreams! Traveling this time round was even more exciting because I had to do all travel arrangements for myself unlike before where it had been done for me. Not even the challenge I faced trying to acquire my visa was going to dull my excitement!
On the 21st of January 2018, we made our trip to Wien, Austria. While there, I was able to meet and interact with people from different nationalities. Activities kicked off on the 22nd of January. These activities gave each of us a chance to work in intercultural/ transnational teams to develop READ creative products and activities encompassing the different cultures. These activities were followed by a two-day festival that gave us (the participants) a chance to showcase the READ products and activities developed followed by a debate about the educational approaches used in the course of the project. It turned out to be a very interesting and insightful week as well as a life changing experience.
I learnt the power of teamwork. I discovered new things about myself. I made new friends from Slovenia, Austria and India. Finally, I built networks. A special thank you to the ITF Secretary General, Venuste Kubwimana and the team that made this experience happen.