I continue to be amazed just how quickly people can learn when they set their minds on something. Thanks to their devotion and commitment, our students can now hold real English conversations, and can communicate their thoughts with confidence.
The following is an Update from Sam Lucas (9 June 2019)

It's not all just hard work though. The image above was taken during the Easter holidays, when we walked several hours to "Salehy' - a beautiful little village nested between the Pangalan Canal and the ocean. We had a wonderful picnic and spent the afternoon playing games before heading home again.

Back in April students sat their 'A2' (elementary) exams. The results were fantastic – the class average was 79%, the lowest score was 67% and the highest score was 93%. I was over the moon and I am sure you'll agree that these are impressive results.

Next week they will sit their 'B1' (intermediate) exams. The chart below shows where these levels lie on a language learners journey. Note that students need to reach the 'C1' (advanced) level by the end of this year. 
Easter Celebrations

Teaching Team
Designing and delivering an immersive English programme is a big challenge and would usually call for a large specialised team with a big budget. However, though their commitment and ingenuity our small team is pulling it off with amazing success. Let me introduce you to the newest members of our team:

Alex and Kirsten (far left in photo below) are a married couple from the Netherlands and are are volunteering at Onja for seven months. Alex is a trained English teacher, and the students profess that he is an incredible teacher – they've told me that one hour becomes like 10 minutes when he is teaching with his humour and interesting ideas. Kirsten is also involved in English teaching and has also contributed much to Onja's operational side.  Staff and students alike have come to absolutely adore this couple, and we are very lucky to have them with us.
From left: Alex, Kirsten, Izzy, Mama Onja, Marcelline, Mitantsoa, Rina and me. 
Izzy, English teacher, joined us in early March. From the United Kingdom. Izzy is has quickly become a very impressive teacher and consistently has the most teaching hours each week. She’s immensely sociable, confident and solution focused so we are very fortunate to have her on the team. 

Second Global Grant Application
Very soon we will start the process of applying for a second global grant to cover the costs of next year when students will keep up their fast paced of learning and become work-ready professional coders (computer programmers). After this graduates will begin working and our project will become self funding!

We are right at the beginning of the process, and plan to send Rotary International a second project plan and seek feedback on that. In the coming months we will be requesting support from many clubs and districts around New Zealand who last year responded overwhelmingly to our call to support and ended up making this whole project possible! We really hope for such a generous show of support again, which would allow us to equip our students with the skills they need, and see our project reach self-sufficiency. 


To donate please head to onja.org. If you are in New Zealand you can make a bank transfer to 12-3027-0012777-51 (make sure you email me so that I can provide you with a tax-refundable receipt).