A Luxembourgish student initiative to help primary school children adversely affected by COVID-19 with their studies
3 minute read
SOS School is a student initiative with the goal of helping primary school children in Luxembourg in their scholarly endeavours following the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Being a co-founder of the initiative, I took on multiple roles and responsabilities within the project:
As an organiser, I was reponsible for getting the project off the ground. Together with my co-founders, we reached out to multiple schools in the area to find students who might be struggling. Sadly, this approach didn't work because of legal reasons (protecting the privacy of the students), so we had to rethink our strategy. This led us to narrow down our target group to refugees living in Luxembourg, because the existing support structures enabled us to get in contact with them more easily. Also, our service was not provided by these, so we complemented their support offering.
As a volunteer, I was responsible for two children. They were living in a refugee housing complex, and were referred to us by Caritas Luxembourg, who leads most of the humanitarian aid efforts in Luxembourg.
Both children were primarily experiencing difficulties with mathematics, so that is the subject I assisted them with the most. The assistence I provided was in form of weekly study sessions, where I helped them with whichever academic subject help was needed the most pressing.
When I arrived, they were bored with the material they were learning at school, part because they thought it was uninteresting, part because they found it too difficult. This had lead to a vicious cycle, so I had to begin with finding a way to break it. I struggled with this problem initially, since it was strongly self-reinforcing. However, I soon realised the key was to establish a personal connection with the aspiring scholars. Once they got to know me better personally, they were more eager to participate. From then, I strived to include fun in the learning process as much as possible, sparking their creativity by showing them the possibilities and wonders of mathematics in addition to the proposed curriculum.
Being the only code literate person in our team, it was my responsability to create and maintain the project homepage, www.sos-school.org.
Because I was still relatively new to Web Development at the beginning of the project, I spent a lot of time experimenting in order to see what works. Once I started gaining experience, I was able to make better decisions, which often led to me taking two steps back and completely rethinking the architecture of the site.
After countless iterations, I have arrived at something that I feel fulfills the requirements of the site. The final tech stack is React, Next.js, and Tailwind, and it leverages Next.js' inbuilt internationalised routing to make the page accessible to the panoply of ethnicities of the People of Luxembourg.
The source code for the site can be found on GitHub.
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