As an Educateurs sans Frontieres (EsF) initiative, the Corner of Hope is a pilot initiative, demonstrating how Montessori can support the most vulnerable communities such as those in refugee, transit and Internally Displaced Person Camps.
Its aim is self-reliance not dependence, community, not school, self-ownership and control, dignity and self-worth, which all play an important role in overcoming the effects of trauma experienced by the inhabitants of the camp. It has the added advantage of building for the future and creating transferable skills that will accompany both adults and children wherever their final destination may be.
10 years into existence, the Corner of Hope school in New Canaan is thriving and has become a centre for the community. A second location has opened at a nearby location in Kisima at the request of the community and, the school opened its doors for the ages 6-12. Around 1000 children in the age group 3-6 have received high-quality Montessori education in the Corner of Hope locations of New Canaan and Kisima. In addition, the 6-12 classroom has served around 100 children since it opened its doors in late 2018. A total of 102 teachers have received Montessori training through Corner of Hope. Corner of Hope has become a model for inspiration and replication, demonstrating a strong foundation in community building, skilled and motivated teachers and flourishing children.
Corner of Hope has achieved the following project objectives since its establishment:
- To create a school within the IDP camp;
- To train 102 teachers with sufficient knowledge to work in other schools;
- To engage the local community in all aspects of the process;
- To seed similar projects in other regions;
- All building, organising, teaching to be done by the camp inhabitants with only a small amount of external expertise;
- To provide access to high-quality Montessori education for the New Canaan and Kisima community;
- To expand the school’s capacity for the ages 6-12;
- To show the potential of quality Montessori education in under-resourced communities.
The future aims of Corner of Hope are as follows:
- To underpin the impact of Montessori in under-resourced communities with scientific research;
- To inspire more initiatives and offer a model for replication;
- To work towards sustainability through the exploration of revenue-generating activities.
Inspired by the Corner of Hope model, several new initiatives have sprouted. Tented children’s houses have been established in the remote Samburu region. Two former Corner of Hope teachers work as mentor teachers at the Samburu schools, applying the knowledge and experience gained at Corner of Hope to guide the newly trained Samburu teachers. Furthermore, as a response to a request for Montessori education in the under-resourced East Pokot region, an endeavour has started to train people from the Pokot community and establish Montessori environments in East Pokot. Three trainees from East Pokot started their Montessori training in January 2021 with more expected to start soon.
Although we have come so far, there is still much to do. For example, there is the consistent maintenance of the school building, the constant repair of Montessori materials, outfits for the children and always the need for more trained teachers.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Corner of Hope, a webpage has been created, showing the development of Corner of Hope and sharing the experiences of the people involved. Visit the page here.
For more information and updates on the latest developments from Kenya, go to AMI Corner of Hope
Corner of Hope featured in First Cohort of Humanitarian Education Accelerator Spotlight Innovations
We are proud to announce that Corner of Hope has been featured as a Spotlight Innovation by the Humanitarian Education Accelerator (HEA) programme. It is part of the First Cohort of ideas that aim to improve education in crisis.
The HEA is a programme that builds from UNICEF and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) earlier collaboration with the UK Department for International Development’s (DFIF) Amplify program, which sought to nurture and test innovative ideas in the earliest stages of development.
More information here: HEA Global Innovations / Corner of Hope
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