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LettuceBee Accepted

A bridge between children & existing schools after improving their self-image/confidence through informal education & social inclusion.

Photo of sarah adeel
25 17

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Evidence shows that the chances of retention for a 'displaced' child placed into a regular school are alarmingly low. A universal reason is: the child's low self esteem; a feeling of not belonging. This gap is why separate 'schools for displaced/under-privileged children' emerge, perpetuating class disparity and making sure that these children remain on the fringes of society.
LBK solution focuses on boosting their self-image using four components grounded in informal education:
LettuceBee Artists: We involve our children in therapy through art sessions. We then convert the artwork into merchandise like greeting cards, stationery, lifestyle & textiles products.
LettuceBee Farmers: The process of sowing a seed and reaping the fruit teaches children patience, responsibility and teamwork. A vegetable garden is maintained and cultivated by the children under adult supervision.
LettuceBee Band: Studies show that children who are actively involved in music do better in reading and math, are better able to focus & have higher self-esteem. The children are taught music to form a band and play together which helps them gain confidence to perform in front of large audience.

WHO BENEFITS?

Afghan refugees in Pakistan

PROTOTYPE

Led by a young, dynamic team – LBK pre-piloted this program in 2011 with a group of 70+ children and witnessed tremendous results. Following art therapy sessions, LettuceBee Artists has converted the children art-work and launched a series of products; stationary products and other life-style/textile products the revenue from which is used to fund further activities.
A national radio-channel has committed to sponsor music therapy, LettuceBee Band.
A local university offered their computer labs, where we started LettuceBee Literate and the kids are given basic education through Khan Academy and other online resources.
IE Business school in Madrid, Spain took up LettuceBee kids model as a case study for their 400 business students to come up with more sustainable solutions.
LBK conducted four successful products exhibitions in Pakistan We had our first international exhibition in Paris, hosted by the PakEmbassy in France. Currently we are exploring collaborations with corporates.

FEEDBACK

Diversified the product line according to the demand of our clients.
Followed up on the suggestions/business ideas presented at the IE business school Madrid.
We are looking into various collaborations as nothing can be achieved in isolation. We have been successful in bringing a few local and international schools onboard who have started buying our notebooks.
After failed attempt to bring the slums to the city at our previous facility, we recently acquired a place next to their dwelling and won the trust of the entire community, after a few months of interactions, conversations and the involvement of the mothers.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

We can use help with taking our design products in the international market to promote these women and the traditional craft. the aim is to retain the integrity of our rich culture, art, language and convert it into contemporary products so we can enjoy it again through its form, identity and compositions.
The skills/expertise I can share is design/visual thinking due to my educational background and extensive experience of working in the field. I can convert an idea into a product that sells.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I am a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design. My research project explored family and community structures, examining how a prosperous social structure takes physical form through design. I am a 2012 iCats Fellow with LGTVP & 2014 Acumen Fellow. I run LettuceBee Kids in Pakistan.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.

25 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of An Old Friend
Team

PLEASE READ THIS TESTIMONY CAREFULLY. I AM USING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE WORLD THAT, GREAT MOTHER IS A GIFTED SPELL CASTER. MY HUSBAND LEFT ME FOR NO REASON. I WAS NO LONGER MY SELF AND AT A TIME, I ATTEMPTED TO COMMIT SUICIDE. BUT THANK GOD I CAME ACROSS GREAT MOTHER ONLINE. I READ GOOD REVIEWS ABOUT HER GOOD WORK AND HOW USEFUL AND HELPFUL SHE HAS BEEN TO PEOPLE. I CONTACTED HER AND TOLD HER MY PROBLEM. SHE TOLD ME THAT MY WAN WILL COME BACK TO ME. SHE TOLD ME WHAT TO DO AND I DID IT AND TO MY GREAT SURPRISE MY HUSBAND CAME BACK JUST AS GREAT MOTHER SAID. I EVEN NOTICED THAT WHEN MY HUSBAND RETURNED, HE EVEN LOVE ME MORE. THIS IS NOT BRAIN WASHING BUT GREAT MOTHER OPENED UP HIS EYES TO SEE HOW MUCH LOVE I HAVE FOR HIM AND HOW MUCH LOVE WE OUGHT TO SHARE WITH EACH OTHER. CONTACT HER NOW ON HER EMAIL:
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM AND YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT HER ON WHATSAPP WITH HER NUMBER: +2348078359876 SHE ALSO HAS 2 BLOGS WHICH YOU CAN ALSO USE TO REACH HER. THESE ARE THE BLOGS BELOW. YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE BLOGS TO SEE HER WORK.

GREATMOTHEROFPOWERS.BLOGSPOT.COM
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTION.BLOGSPOT.COM

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

PLEASE READ THIS TESTIMONY CAREFULLY. I AM USING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE WORLD THAT, GREAT MOTHER IS A GIFTED SPELL CASTER. MY HUSBAND LEFT ME FOR NO REASON. I WAS NO LONGER MY SELF AND AT A TIME, I ATTEMPTED TO COMMIT SUICIDE. BUT THANK GOD I CAME ACROSS GREAT MOTHER ONLINE. I READ GOOD REVIEWS ABOUT HER GOOD WORK AND HOW USEFUL AND HELPFUL SHE HAS BEEN TO PEOPLE. I CONTACTED HER AND TOLD HER MY PROBLEM. SHE TOLD ME THAT MY WAN WILL COME BACK TO ME. SHE TOLD ME WHAT TO DO AND I DID IT AND TO MY GREAT SURPRISE MY HUSBAND CAME BACK JUST AS GREAT MOTHER SAID. I EVEN NOTICED THAT WHEN MY HUSBAND RETURNED, HE EVEN LOVE ME MORE. THIS IS NOT BRAIN WASHING BUT GREAT MOTHER OPENED UP HIS EYES TO SEE HOW MUCH LOVE I HAVE FOR HIM AND HOW MUCH LOVE WE OUGHT TO SHARE WITH EACH OTHER. CONTACT HER NOW ON HER EMAIL:
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM AND YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT HER ON WHATSAPP WITH HER NUMBER: +2348078359876 SHE ALSO HAS 2 BLOGS WHICH YOU CAN ALSO USE TO REACH HER. THESE ARE THE BLOGS BELOW. YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE BLOGS TO SEE HER WORK.

GREATMOTHEROFPOWERS.BLOGSPOT.COM
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTION.BLOGSPOT.COM

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Sarah. It would be great to learn more about how children move through the program. Maybe create a user experience map if you have time? Might also help the team evaluating here?

Photo of Wajiha Khalid
Team

Undoubtedly,Lettuce Bee Kids harmoniously integrates the 5 basic need levels of human beings through its four pillar model. Kudos to Sarah and her team for that. Building on the impact assessment tools idea, I would like to propose a worksheet methodology , designed both for the students and the mentors to monitor the pace of learning and teaching on a quarterly or a time to time basis. This will ensure a more consistent approach to judge the capacity enhancement of the kids.

Photo of Salma Habib
Team

Hi Sarah,
Love what you are doing with the kids. I having been working as an Art therapist, using Art to heal and to spread knowledge with kids on location throughout the city, under the banner of 'Taleem Ko Aam Karo'.
It would be great to have some feedback from you.
https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/when-words-are-just-not-enough

Photo of neelum nisar
Team

Amazing idea , and what's more fantastic is the unbelievable effort , Sara, you and the LBK team have put in to make it a viable success. All the best!!

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi again Sarah! This contribution is also really interesting! It would be great to get a better sense of how a refugee might interact with one of the main components of your idea. Have you considered filling in a User Experience Map? https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/5c28e26a-ba7f-44f4-859b-e82658264287.pdf We'd love to learn more! Also, it would be great to incorporate some of the answers to all of the great feedback you've received into the body of your submission so newcomers taking a look at your idea can get up to speed quickly!

Photo of sarah adeel
Team

Dear Chioma, Thank you for your kind message. I will fill in the user experience map for sure.
Will also incorporate the wonderful feedback in he body, especially from Bettina's amazing input.

Photo of ronald ssenfuka
Team

Hi Sarah,
Thank you for your idea of promoting education through Art. Could you please share more information on how the project collectively engages refugees in empowering themselves.

Photo of sarah adeel
Team

Dear Ronald, Thank you for the query. Therapy through art has shown some visible transformation in children's self expression and confidence. Initially, most of them experienced verbal shyness, spoke another language or were just too shy to talk. Art made them express themselves better and more freely. This artwork is then converted into various lifestyle products, which is exhibited and sold through auctions and exhibitions. During those exhibitions, when the audience appreciates their work and asks them questions, this feedback and interest boosts their self esteem and becomes a source of confidence.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Sarah.
Thanks for sharing this great program here! I love the focus on education through the arts.
In LettuceBee Farmers do the children also eat the food that they grow? Do you use the garden as an educational tool in other ways? There is a creative school program in rural Haiti that is using gardening as a food source, and as an educational tool - for numeracy and literacy. Might be an inspiration for your work? The Matenwa Community School, LaGonave, Haiti. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X6V6JaUaRY

You might also be interested in the amazing Mobile School as they are also working with street children. With the Mobile School they use games as a way for these children to discovery their talents and become aware and confident in their abilities, improving self esteem in this way. https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/meeting-children-where-they-are-mobile-discovery-centers

Best of luck as you develop the program!

Photo of sarah adeel
Team

Dear Bettina, Thank you for your kind words and useful links.. The kids take the veggies home and our hope is, that once we have a bigger area, perhaps we can start a small children's farmer's market where they can also sell their produce and become little entrepreneurs.
The bus idea is incredible and can do wonders both in terms of education and visibility. We will definitely explore that. :)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

I agree that the mobile school being mobile can increase visibility. I like that about it as well. I also love that it accommodates - brings education to kids where they are!
One thing the group behind Mobile School mention is that some youth choose to go back to formal education after gaining confidence through interactions with the mobile school over time. Is that something that is a possibility for this refugee group in Pakistan? Are they permitted to attend school there?
Would love to learn more about the structure of your program. I see that it is in 18 month cycles. What is a cycle exactly? What age children attend the programs? Do they attend as a mixed age group or do you divide by age groups? Is there any component of older children assisting or teaching younger children? Does your program include children from the host community? Who are the facilitators? What is their training? What challenges have you had as you have developed this program? What successes? What feedback have parents given regarding their child's development? Do parents allow both girls and boys to attend in general? (I see both in the photos.)
Excited to learn more!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

During the research phase I read about an interesting organization providing education for refugees that are living in slums in or near Islamabad, some are Afghan families, and as these families are nomadic the organization brings the school/classrooms to them, and if they move they seem to follow them. Might be of interest? http://jaqtrust.org/HowWeWork.aspx (Saad Hamid posted about a Tedx in a Box he organized at one of their schools. https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/ted-in-a-box-with-refugees-in-pakistan/comments#!comments-section)

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this post being featured in this week's highlights! https://openideo.com/blog/refugee-education-weekly-highlights-may-15-2015

Photo of Saad
Team

This is a really bold initiative and benefits the segment of the society that need the most help: children of displaced families.

I have two queries about the concept:

1. Is the initiative structured as a cycle that takes in a batch of children and educates them? If so, how long does the cycle last and what, in your view, is the progression plan after such a cycle ends?

2. Is the LettuceBee Literate program a regular feature in the children's training? If so, the initiative seems to have a lot of potential to not only provide education, but also to significantly raise the bar when it comes to quality of education in the country.

Photo of sarah adeel
Team

Dear Saad,
Thank you for your very relevant query.

1. The cycle for each batch lasts for 18 months. The progression is still work under progress and has pivoted a lot due to various aspect, e.g location, unrest, parents, current political scenario etc. We are looking forward to all suggestions and feedback to formalize a set progression pattern that can be replicated.
2. LettuceBee literate is a regular feature and we are entering in our year 4. You are absolutely right about the potential of digital learning. The kids who have no access to computers otherwise, show keen interest to not just explore on their own but they also learn to operate computers in no time. However, we are still working on developing the impact measuring tools to assess the progress in a more tangible way. Any leads on that are more than welcome. Thank you.

Photo of Amal Khan
Team

Bravo !
This plan bridges up the gap between street children and quality education by employing both formal
and informal modes, especially digital literacy and character building through arts, music, relationship
with nature and respect of elders.
Amazingly good!

Photo of Hiba Amjad
Team

The plan for the LBK facility looks especially great and well thought out.

Photo of Hiba Amjad
Team

There are various projects in the development sector, but the common factor amongst most is the donor dependency. It's nice to see a social reintegration programme that focuses on being self sustainable.

Photo of Afsheen Javaid
Team

Amazing, well thought and much needed initiative for our local society.

Photo of Zara Farooq
Team

Great idea! A very needed initiative for the street kids of Pakistan.

Photo of Shuja Malik
Team

the best..
it's such nice idea..

Photo of Rollston
Team

Sarah,

Fantastic initiative !!!. How do the families manage the loss of the income stream being brought in by the children, you mentioned in the attached paper that the mothers are involved in Sammaan, to reduce the income lost, though does this fully bridge the gap ? Are there other ways in which the families can do this, without having to get their children to work again ?

Photo of sarah adeel
Team

Dear Rollston,
Thank you for your very relevant query. I have added the Sammaan idea in detail, here: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/sammaan-a-mindful-design-studio
This will give you a better insight about balancing the income stream of the children. So far, having the mothers [working] and the children [studying] at the same premises has proven to be a success. Since we are small and located right next to where they live, we have been able to fully bridged the gap so far. In fact, since the mother are making more than what kids used to make on the streets by picking trash, we get requests every day from many other families in the vicinity to enroll their children and give work to the mothers.