PE&C True Stories: “My name is Winnie Matos, I’m 56 years old and I’m a volunteer English teacher in Nador (Morocco).”
Winnie Matos came to Nador from England a year ago. She left her family in her home country in order to work towards the education of people who have little in the way of resources both eagerly and with optimism. In addition to teaching English, she provides education about values. Today she tells us her story firsthand.
I’m English. I came to this city nearly a year ago and decided to stay on as a volunteer, thereby giving a little of myself to this community. From time to time I ask myself just what am I doing in Nador, what has called me here and what makes me want to stay on in the project, far away from my children and grandchildren? The thing is that I feel quite at home here at the heart of PE&C in Morocco (People, Education and Communities, Committed to development; Abengoa’s social action program) at the Baraka Center, both with the team of teachers, the management staff – and, not to mention with my students.
What really fills me here is the fresh air I breathe, the hope and the optimism we have as we study and work. Each one’s circumstances differ and in most cases are tough. I have students in my class who have not finished their primary education. And, even those who have a slightly higher level of education have very limited economic resources.
” Winnie’s students at PE&C Morocco have the courage to keep on fighting for their future in spite of their family and social situation.
PE&C offers an opportunity to keep on educating these youths who are concerned about learning and their development. I have enterprising students who display courage as they continue fighting for their future in spite of their family and social situation. This also fills me with energy to keep on carrying out my work with PE&C.
Another objective that we have is to offer students a trusted place where they can be together. There are two illiterate women on the course who obviously find studying very difficult, however, the class gives them the opportunity to recount their experiences and also to be heard.
In addition to teaching English, I also have the role of supporting and listening to my students. This listening is open and honest; we do not judge, but rather listen respectfully. I try to instill values in my students. This is the reason why I feel so in line with PE&C, because the students’ overall education is essential for a society to prosper.
“We have managed to create a climate of trust in which both men and women can express their opinions freely. “
The subjects that we deal with in class range from the woman’s role in Moroccan society, equal opportunities, the vision of youths, difficulties in Morocco, or environmental problems…… right over to subjects of a global, national and domestic range. The teaching is of a high quality and the students are very participative which is so rewarding for me, as we have managed to create a climate of trust in which both men and women can express their opinions freely.
With regards to the language, much progress has been made since the course began. The students are now more fluent and can hold short conversations in English! This language takes precedence in Morocco as well as in the rest of the world, and the young ones are very well aware how important it is both socially and in the area of employment.
It is my resolve and my wish to keep working as a volunteer teacher next year too, in order to be able to reach even more youngsters.