Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Busy Season of Training Concludes

When we first arrived last April, we met right away with a local orphanage director. She proved to be the incredible contact for us throughout the region during the months we have been here. I haven't shared a whole lot about this area of our work, but wanted to now to give you an idea of the amazing doors that have opened to us here. The neat part of this is that we didn't seek after them, they just came!

Since meeting this local orphanage director and offering workshops in this area, we have been invited into the offices of local administrators and regional directors. Most recently, we have been invited into the offices of national government people. Later this month, the team leaders of ILDC (International Leadership and Development Center), Lynn and Ruby Johnston, David and I are scheduled to meet with a number of key national people in the government as well as the university sector. We have no idea what this may bring, but will simply show up and see what happens. They heard about the work here and asked us to come to talk with them.

In June and July we conducted a six week series on child development and attachment for sixteen social workers. I enjoyed spreading the training over a number of weeks because it enabled us to get to know folks a little better each time.

Since early August, we have been training local and regional social workers in a different training location and it has been an energizing experience for us. I experience so much joy in collaborating with these colleagues in the field of child welfare for we all have one thing in common - we care about the children.

Tokmok social workers - August -September

"We have never had training like this." We heard it over and over again as we trained 18 social workers from the city of Tokmok. They were so appreciative. The focus of this four week session was on early child development and attachment. I believe we had 99% attendance over four weeks. When we are out walking, which we do a lot, it is fun to run into people we have connected with in these workshops.

The Tokmok participants really enjoyed using the Classroom Performance system remotes for a fun way to answer questions.

We asked the regional vice-director to pass out certificates. The director, who arranged the sessions was on a month-long vacation. Two of the workers told us they cut their vacations short to come to training. Was the pressure ever on us to make it worth their effort!
Four weeks later and we celebrated the first ILDC training in this regional office.

Kemin Social Administration - September 4
Kemin is a village about thirty miles from Tokmok. Some of the people in Kemin heard about the trainings in Tokmok and asked us to come and to speak to them about a foster care program. Because foster care is a new concept to them, we started with the basics - the six components of a foster care program. Seventeen social workers and local administrators attended. Days later, we were told that after our session, the group met the following day to process what we had talked about and plan for the future. We were absolutely thrilled.
Seventeen social workers and local administrators attended this foster care workshop. Foster care is a new concept to them and one of the first questions I had was , "what is a foster parent?"

Our Major Training Event - September 10 and 11 - Caring for Traumatized Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

We have been planning this major training event for over six weeks. A lot of time and planning went into this event. Natalia, our most competent translator, worked hard for several weeks in translating training material and PowerPoint slides. We wanted this to be the very best! We want to thank a fellow American social worker, Jerry Heatherly for providing the funding for this event. Twenty-five social workers came from four different regions. Some came from a distance three hours away. The training was held at one of Mercy Foundation's fine schools. The participants were treated to wonderful lunches and snacks, useful training materials and two days of sharing and talking together. Many of them commented that the information learned in the training was new to them. They were so appreciative. Five orphanages were represented in this group of participants along with family social workers.

After we finished processing the two days and asking for any additional questions or comments, we passed out the certificates. When that was done the group just sat there. One of participants raised her hand and pointed to some material I had skipped due to time considerations. I guess she was shy to mention it before then. They all said "we want that too," so we stayed another 20+ minutes. Staying overtime voluntarily, that is new to me!

This was the first time David and I have co-trained was great fun and the participants really appeciated his involvement.

This was Natalia's first experience at translating for two days, five hours each day. She did an excellent job and is growing in her knowledge of child welfare.

As we process the events around our experiences in training the workers here, I will look back on them as enriching, stretching, energizing....absolutely wonderful. We look to the future not knowing exactly what lies ahead...we just know what our hearts say....we will be back. There is much work to be done for the children of Kyrgyzstan.
Throughout the two days, David reminded this fine group of professionals, that they are healing people. What a way to end our training time here (for now!).
The Journey Continues......


Andrew said...

Wow! I wish I could get my students here at Cedarville to stay 20 more minutes. It's normal for them to want to go 20 minutes before!



LAMb International said...

We will see you in just a few days in Tokmok! Your journey has been one of service. We are honored to be your partners.

Be blessed!

Julie and John Wright said...

Thank you so much my friends for giving your knowledge, your time and your hearts.
Hope to see you soon,