There is an education revolution taking place in Asia. Science of Life Studies (SOLS 24/7) is an international NGO which is tirelessly striving to empower lesser developed communities by providing free Life-skills and English training. There is a dynamic and enthusiastic team of ‘change-makers’ from all over the world who are united in their goal to serve the poor! This is my account of my experiences during a 15-month teaching placement.
What inspired me to do it?
For a long time I have been very disinterested in what I have seen from the graduate job market. I have heard many stories of people who are doing work placements simply to boost their CV or just to earn money.
Graduate jobs are massively oversubscribed now and I can see that there are not many opportunities to be exposed to big projects and be put in interesting positions or given high level responsibilities at a young age.
I have experienced an office environment working for a leasing company and although the wages were high I felt like my creative instinct and passion to contribute to something exciting and worthwhile was not being fulfilled. Usually, I ended the day drained and disheartened.
I could always see that there is a benefit to working with people in a way that can contribute to the betterment of society and not necessarily in an office. I thought that getting involved in teaching was a natural way to achieve this goal.
The benefits of social work abroad
Leaving my comfort zone and making the move to do social work in Asia has expanded my skills set on so many levels. Through working as an English and motivation teacher, every day your character can become more refined in terms of humility, confidence, compassion, leadership and communication skills.
Asia’s rapid economic growth has led to more demand for educated workers. English, being the international language, is a key skill for people to improve their confidence and ability to acquire higher paid jobs.
SOLS 24/7 – Science Of Life Studies 24/7 is the largest provider of free English, IT and life skills education in South East Asia. They run almost 100 community centres in countries including: East Timor, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos.
What teaching abroad involved
Today racial and religious disharmony is more prevalent than ever and has led to a break down in society in many parts of the world. What is so special about SOLS is that through education and empowerment, students and teachers of many different religions and nationalities can live and study together in love and unity.
The organisation’s founder: Dr Professor Madenjit Singh, affectionately known as ‘Big Teacher’, has spent the last 25 years researching and applying an effective English teaching system and a motivation program that applies spiritual concepts to help people to realise their innate human potential. He has always been driven to bring these programs to the world free of charge.
A typical weekday for a SOLS international volunteer, may include: 4 hours of teaching English, an hour of giving basic IT training, motivation and life skills group work, team-building, eating meals with students, dancing until late during the Friday social night, watching/ taking part in performance night.
A typical Saturday may include: Helping out with construction of student dorms in Cambodia, going for a motorbike trip to a mountain or beach in East Timor, going to visit the twin-towers in Kuala Lumpur, or sampling local Laosian food in the night market.
What sets SOLS apart from other NGOs is that students don’t have to pay any fees in order to join. Placements are available for 3 – 12 months. An allowance in available if the student can commit 6 months or more.
Applications can be made on their website: www.sols247.org
Any football fans may be interested to know that the owner of Cardiff City FC: Tan Sri Vincent Tan, recently awarded funding to SOLS 24/7 to open 100 new centres in Malaysia.