RUMFORD — The River Valley Rotary Club is seeking young professionals who work with special needs individuals for a once-in-a-lifetime professional exchange to West Africa.

A group of special needs professionals, including social workers, special educational teachers, techs and direct support professionals, will travel to Nigeria next spring to work for a month in schools and institutions for children and adults who are physically handicapped or mentally challenged.

The trip will take place from April 12 to May 13, 2013. The candidates selected for the exchange will meet prior to the trip to prepare lesson plans and to learn more about Nigeria. On their return, they will present to Rotary clubs to share their experiences.

While in the country, they will work in Nigerian schools and institutions, they will home-stay with Rotarians, and all food and travel expenses (both international and in-country) will be provided as a scholarship by Rotary.

On weekends and when not working, they will have the opportunity to see wild life preserves and visit small villages. The team members will be responsible for arranging their own time off from their jobs during their time abroad, and they will be financially responsible for all personal expenses (including passport, visa and relevant insurances).

Candidates must have two years of relevant work experience, they should be between age 25 and 40, and they cannot be a Rotarian or a directed descendant of a Rotarian, although alumni of Rotary’s youth organizations, Interact, RYLA and Rotaract, are encouraged to apply.

Rotary sponsors the initiative out of its belief that peace can only come by giving future leaders specific opportunities to better understand differences and similarities throughout the world community of nations.

Nigeria is a former English colony; English is widely spoken. Nigeria has rich oil reserves, but that money does not reach the vast majority of Nigerians who live in the central and northern sections of the country.

Many villages have primary schools, but few of the schools are equipped with more than wooden desks and blackboards. Students with physical or mental disabilities are frequently warehoused or “hidden” by their families, without access to even basic training. Special needs professionals do not exist, and teachers learn little about formal instructional methodologies during their training.

For more information about the exchange, contact Catherine Johnson at 364-4561, or visit www.rivervalleyrotary Applications are also available online: www.rotary.org/en/serviceandfellowship/fellowship/groupstudyexchange.

All applications must be received by District Coordinator Cynthia Laux, [email protected], by Nov. 4.


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