The Teachable Spirit of Ingrid

» Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in teachable spirit | 0 comments

The Teachable Spirit of Ingrid

What does the acronym INGRID mean?
How does the meaning of the name fit the work INGRID Education Centre is doing?
Why does Ingrid have a teachable spirit?

The name INGRID means

Incentive for Nurturing a Group of Respected Integral Community Developers. The title was chosen because the school was founded by a group of volunteer teachers who saw the need to bring the local children education to improve their futures in a very harsh environment.

Douglas directing students of Ingrid to line up for their picture after receiving soccer balls from my mother, Mrs. Joan Rasmussen, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

Douglas directing students of Ingrid to line up for their picture after receiving soccer balls from my mother, Mrs. Joan Rasmussen, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

Ingrid Education Centre Care & Nursery School was established  in 2005 to provide care and support for Matopeni’s youngest children who accompanied their parents and guardians to work in the Quarry farm nearby. Today, the school provides nursery and primary education to 200 children between the ages of 3 and 14.

Prior to Ingrid’s existence, children of the parents who worked at the quarry had three choices:

  • go to work with mom
  • stay home unsupervised
  • wander in the dangerous streets
Children of Ingrid, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photograpy.

Children of Ingrid, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photograpy.

With the inception of Ingrid, these children now have a fourth choice: attend school at Ingrid. In addition to education, the children also receive:

  • one hot meal a day
  • school supplies
  • school uniform

Obviously, everyone understands that the most important benefit of attending Ingrid is education, but what keeps the children attending school is the hot meal they receive. For some of them, that may be the only meal they have all day. The bonus for these children is that they are gaining an excellent education in spite of limited and primitive teaching materials. Additionally, they are focusing on achieving their goals rather than running the risk of becoming involved in crime or being vulnerable to abuse that could occur without the structure and routine of school.

One of the ten teachers of Ingrid Education Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, January, 2013.

One of the ten teachers of Ingrid Education Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, January, 2013.

Having a teachable spirit is indicative of those who are open and desirous of being educated. Both the students and the teachers reflect this frame of mind, as I discovered when I visited the school.

What especially strikes me is that the volunteer teachers are extremely dedicated. Their salaries are far below the government schools’ pay scale. They are given a token of between 4000 to 4800 Kenyan Shillings a month, which is equivalent to $45 to $58. Typically, the average teacher’s salary in Kenya is $200 per month.

Providing instruction disciplines an individual to grow in the process of developing new material and/or continually reviewing curriculum until you understand it better than you did when you started. When I first began teaching Adult Basic Education (ABE) in 2000, my supervisor asked me,

Teaching math to the students of Ingrid with chalk, chalkboard, and a single textbook, Nairobi, Kenya, January, 2013.

Teaching math to the students of Ingrid with a piece of chalk, a chalkboard, and a single textbook, Nairobi, Kenya, January, 2013.

You do know how to teach math, right?

My reply was,

Well, I took statistics in college…

As my voice trailed off, she declared,

Oh, I know you will be fine!

Gulp! I thought. I hope so!

My son, Isaac Van Mechelen, disappearing through the entrance to Ingrid, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013.

My son, Isaac Van Mechelen, disappearing through the entrance to Ingrid, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013.

However, I found out she was right. I took the time to work through the algebra, geometry, and other types of math that I had a revulsion to in high school, and discovered that it was not as difficult as I remembered. My brain must have grown up! Although my degree is not in math, repeatedly explaining the process to many students over the last 14 years has infinitely increased my comfort level with the subject.

This is the incentive that Ingrid has developed, and the respect they have garnered for themselves and the community. When you choose to pursue a path of educating children and creating a school where none existed, you become integral to the development of the community, bringing hope and faith, and attracting a teachable spirit. 

Sponsor one of Ingrid's children today because it will change their life tomorrow. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

Sponsor one of Ingrid’s children today because it will change their life tomorrow. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

Today is the day you can encourage the teachable spirit in a child because planting the seed of education, which can be nurtured into self respect and dignity, will provide nourishment and strength to those in his or her personal environment. Ingrid Education Centre stands as a group of integral community developers, providing incentive, and nurturing characteristics in its four walls that attract those who see it worthy of financial support, developing character in the under resourced and underserved population of Matopeni and Kayole, Kenya.

$15.00 a month or $180.00 a year provides all the clothes, books, and food needed for one boy or girl to attend school. Contact Douglas Monene, founder of Ingrid Education Centre via email: douglasmonene@gmail.com to learn how to sponsor one of the children who attend Ingrid

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