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Samoa's new Peace Corps volunteers — spreading English literacy

The new volunteers from the Peace Corps in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture (MESC) to promote teaching and learning capacities in English Literacy in government primary schools.  (Photos US Embassy-SAMOA0)

Apia, SAMOA — Twenty-one Americans arrived in Samoa last week, they are volunteers from the Peace Corps who has been sending volunteers since 1967. The volunteers who will spend two years living and working in Samoan villages serving as English Resource Teachers in government primary schools. This is the 88th Group of Peace Corps who ranging in age from their early 20s to their mid-60s. The Peace Corps works in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture to promote teaching and learning capacities in English Literacy.

According to a press statement issued, U.S. Embassy Acting Chargé d'Affaires Lynda Hinds said, “It is an honor to greet a new and impressive contingent of Peace Corps volunteers and to welcome them to Samoa. The Peace Corps' contribution to Samoa is vast, with not only over USD 100 million in support for the program but in the immeasurable ties built between our communities. Former and current volunteers speak warmly of the time they have spent in Samoa and I know that this new group will receive the same warm welcome from the Samoan people.”

Samantha Hurkmans one of the new volunteers to teach in Samoa said her primary aspiration is to get her students excited about reading and writing. “As an educator I believe that literacy is the key to the world. I realize how important education is in the hopes of accomplishing dreams and goals in life.”

Another volunteer Aftan Francis said he hopes to become as much a part of the community as possible, attending church, spending time with host family and students, forming bonds with the people around him, coupling respect with friendship and hopefully [one day] earning his place as a community member.

According to the press statement the new group of volunteers will spend their first 10 weeks in a Pre-Service Training Program, which will include learning the Samoan language and culture along with technical training. The first week of the training will take place in Apia, followed by nine weeks in a village setting.  In mid-December, the Volunteers will travel to their new sites in villages throughout Samoa to spend time getting to know their communities over the Christmas holidays.  In January they will attend an additional week of technical training to prepare for the start of the 2017 school year.