reclaimlogoWhile scanning through Twitter one grey Manchester morning, I spied a message that grabbed hold of my attention. ‘Re:Claim‘ was a name I’d never heard so my curiosity led me to read on and find out what they’re all about. Before long, Iain Kinnear was knocking on our door for our first meeting. As we sat in Melbourne’s famous Narnia meeting room, Iain saw my eyes light up as he described what Re:Claim’s projects were and how they helped the local youth.

As Ruth Ibegbuna, Re:Claim’s Project Manager describes:

“Re:Claim is a new honest way of communication between the young people and adults in communities. The project is about helping young people build self-confidence and reliance on their own inherent talents that even they may not have realised. It’s an education in what people are capable of and it is a support system for young people who can often feel ‘lost’ as they negotiate the pressured path to adulthood.”

I haven’t had a hard life to be honest, I have definitely lived and experienced life’s ups and downs. In the grand scheme of things I’ve been reasonably privileged (as most of you that read this probably have too). I do however believe that my education could have been improved upon.

Due to my background and my own experiences, I’ve been very interested in the current state of education. I believe that we can change it for the better and improve the experience that future generations have growing up in our society and our school system.

“The dropout crisis is just the tip of an iceberg. What it doesn’t count are all the kids who are in school but being disengaged from it, who don’t enjoy it, who don’t get any real benefit from it.” – Sir Ken Robinson

My conversation with Re:Claim struck chords with me. Yes, education as we know it works for some people and they excel within the structure. However, everyone is different; we are individuals. I do believe that there should be alternative learning structures like Re:Claim, who encourage the students to find their voice and take control of their path. Past Re:Claim students have now moved on successfully to higher education and even started their own businesses. Re:Claim helped the young children to realise their ability and follow their dreams.

“All kids have tremendous talents — and we squander them pretty ruthlessly.” – Sir Ken Robinson

You may have also heard of Waldorf (Steiner) education which focusses on providing practical skills, encourage play and attempt to increase social capacities. These alternative educational paths are indispensable. I am quite a fan of TED Talks, watching them every day without fail. A few of my favourites are Sir Ken Robinson’s on education, highly recommended.

This is Part 1 of a 2-part blog post. Tune in tomorrow for Part 2.

In my next blog post, I will talk about our venture into working with Re:Claim and encouraging the children to reclaim their education.