DIY Doctor

Help wanted for a teaching course in Iraq

Postby MORAG » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:47 am

Hello to you all, I will try and keep this as short as possible. Since retiring I spend around 6 months of the year as a volunteer working with a children’s charity in Iraq, in the Kurdish North. Although not a qualified painter and decorator, I have been doing my own painting for nearly 50 years.
Last year whilst in Iraq I painted seven rooms in the Paediatric Hospital, this year I did the same with an old building which has just opened as a centre for Autism. Many times over the past 18 months I have visited this forum to get advice and it has benefited me enormously.

I am returning at the end of September and I have been asked if I could train some of the youths from the centres, these youths are from very poor families and have no chance of getting decent employment unless they have qualifications so I have agreed.

The problem is I really do not know how to put a teaching plan together; it is not something I ever imagined I would be doing. Up to 2003 they only had white or cream paints now they are importing colours from Germany and Turkey but very limited, I did find a shop early this year that now sells undercoat, last year I had to use watered down paint, I also managed to find some primer after searching various shops for two days, even the shopkeepers don’t really know what they are selling and one was surprised when I asked was the paint for interior use, they didn’t know there was a difference between interior and exterior. I also saw masking tape which no one seems to know what it is for. I brought some over with me last year.

The painters there have not had any training and just slap on the paint, covering not only walls but light fittings, floor, windows etc. so I want to explain to the class about preparation, plus the different types of paint, cutting in etc.

I am hoping to do 4 hours per days, but not quite sure how many weeks the course should run, I was thinking maybe the first day just to talk about various paints, masking tape, colours etc. and then actually getting them to paint. Any help would be gratefully accepted and apologies for the long message. And not that it makes a difference but I am female.

Thanks and I look forward to a reply.
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Postby lizzypopbottle » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:43 pm

Hi Morag

I hope this is useful advice. It's how I would tackle it, anyway.

The people who have asked you to teach this course must have some resources for you i.e. a little money to spend on materials and, hopefully, a place that the lads can use to practise their skills and to plan and carry out a useful project while learning. It's good learning behaviour to experience the satisfaction of a job well done and be allowed to make mistakes and rectify them along the way!

It's skills rather than theory that these lads will need so your lessons should be much more about doing than about sitting listening to how someone else would do a job. Break the job down into its various aspects:

[b]Planning[/b] - What do they want to achieve? This is where a real project is important.
[b]Measuring and Resourcing [/b]- What materials and tools do they need before they start? You should have examples for them to examine and have a go with. How much paint will they need to cover a given area? There's a bit of maths involved. You'll need simple measuring equipment like metre sticks and pencil, paper. Where will they get their resources?
[b]Estimating the cost[/b] - How much will the job cost in terms of materials and time?
[b]Preparation[/b] - How will they prepare the surfaces for the job and protect surfaces that are not to be painted?
[b]Application[/b] - Which tools and techniques will suit different aspects of the job?
[b]Cleaning and finishing off [/b]- Looking after tools and storing unused materials.

You should be able to plan a series of lessons using these aspects of good decorating practice. Four hours is a long time to concentrate so include lots of practical work.

Good Luck!
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Postby MORAG » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:38 am

Hello Lizzy

Thank you so much for this advice, I was hoping someone would come up with something, I shall print this out and then try and write something out around the ideas you have given me. I need to type everything up as they don't speak English so I shall have an interpreter and then get him to translate all the advice and do's and don'ts into Kurdish.

Because they have nothing like B&Q and other decorating supermarkets and shops that we have, I thought it’s no good teaching them about all the different paints, type of brushes etc. if they cannot buy them. They also don’t have proper bristle brushes which I have always used at home and also sheep wool rollers but the ones I have bought from the local shops do the job well enough

The charity which I volunteer with will supply the tools and paints although I have been around my family and friends with my begging bowl.

I have lots of projects still to start, most of the children’s centres need decorating as well as the maternity hospital so I have thought of starting with a room in one of the children’s centres first.

As most of the youths (I am hoping some girls turn up as well) are from really poor backgrounds and most of them were working street children, I would like to be able to teach them to a good standard where they will be able to go out and get work and earn a decent living.

I should be going over in early October so if you keep an eye on here I will let you know how I have got on. Every time I have come across a problem I have relied on this forum to solve it and the majority of time I have found an answer.

Thank you once again for your help, it is very much appreciated.

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Postby MORAG » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:12 pm

For DIYDoctober Forum

[b]Hello Lizzy[/b]

I don’t know if you still come on here but I hope you get to read this. I want to thank you very much for your help. I copied your list, planning, measuring and Resourcing etc. typed out a little booklet on the do’s and don’ts and the proper way of doing everything, it all got translated into Kurdish. I took a week off to go round all the paint shops to see what they had in and buying what was available, and also making a price list and had all the items laid out on a table so the students could check them all out.
I was asked (even before I had set up the training) could I paint a couple of rooms in the youth centre and also some of the class rooms in a local school so this was where I had them doing the practical work.

There were 25 young men and women that attended the theory course on painting and decorating, and I actually ended up with just 10.
There were two women and one man in the youth centre, and four women and three men in the school, all between the ages of 17 and 23. They were all really hard working and even worked over the weekend.

They did practical work on washing the walls, filling in cracks and holes, sanding and then undercoating and then a couple of coats of coloured paint. I must admit the women worked extra hard and never minded the cleaning bit, the boys tried to get out of it.
The course lasted 2 weeks and at the end all 10 of them received a certificate, which they rightly deserved, the school especially had not been painted for years and was in a sorry state, lots of holes, cracks and very dirty. The walls were very soft and any knock resulted in a hole or a crack. I told them they had started off in the deep end and after this they should find everything much easier.

Two of the young women have already begun to paint the children’s centre that they work in so I’m pleased to hear about that.

I am going to put the photographs up on facebook when I have the time so please do try and check them out. On facebook it will be under Kurdistan Childrens Fund or KCF-KSC

Thank you once again for your help, it was much appreciated. And also thanks to a lot of other people on this site whose recommendations I could not have done without.
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