Maldives Rowing Volunteer
I promised more regular posts, so here you are two in two days, rainy weather means that inside is the best place to be at the moment!  I have now extended my teaching repertoire to include juvenile delinquents on top of the various other lessons I am doing.  My first teaching day at Feydhoofinolu was this morning and being completely unprepared for what to expect, not unprepared in an unprofessional way I want to reassure you, I decided that it would be best not to have any expectations, I am really happy with how everything went.  I did promise photos however I completely forgot to take my camera and as the rain clouds came across during the lesson it was probably a good thing – I will take some on a beautiful sunny day I promise!  The boys / men who are at the Correctional Centre against their wishes, as opposed to the men who are working  there who I hope are there by their own free will, have come from all over the Maldives but mainly from Male.  In the Maldives Judicial system anyone under 18 cannot be given a custodial sentence but they can be sent to the behavioural correctional centre where they are given lessons in various life skills, what else happens there I am not sure, so I would be reluctant to comment!  The aim is to give them lessons in basic literacy, English, maths and then other skills including first aid, sports, music and art so that on leaving they have a chance to try and get a job or more training. 

A big problem in the Maldives is youth unemployment and the resulting anti social behaviour and crime mainly among the men.  Children may leave school at 16 however they are not able to be employed until they are 18 leaving many teenagers at a loose end for two years and then potentially much longer.  The opportunities for employment, particularly in the islands, are not fantastic, outside of tourism there is little growth industries – I have no idea what a government would do to try an overcome these issues and I very glad I am not in their shoes.

Back to lessons this morning, the fifteen boys were all impeccably behaved, an unusual occurrence I was later told, so I dare not hope for this to become a regular event.  The standard of swimming was generally good but mainly in that teenage boy way of swimming with head moving side to side at a high speed – fingers crossed we can try to change that.  Being called Mam all the time was an improvement on the Miss, Miss, Miss I get in other lessons and standing on the edge of the track rather than in the water was a bonus too!!  I could tell the boys had been given regulation haircuts which made me laugh, there was not a Maldivian “Soul Glo” lid amongst them nor any terrible goatees (a particular favourite of twenty something men here and more than slightly nauseating in most cases), only very short hair all round and a buzz cut for the newest arrival.

All in all, a good start but I am cautiously positive, I will wait to see what Sunday (and the next lesson) brings.



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