URI teacher’s film about Kenyan schools to premiere on Providence campus, March 1

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KINGSTON, — Feb. 13, 2013 — A documentary about a local non-profit group that trains teachers in the slums of Kenya will debut March 1 on the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus.

Local filmmakers John Lavall and Kate Kelley spent a month with URI education lecturer Bill Molloy as he and his volunteers taught Kenyan teachers how to teach reading, math, writing, and lesson planning.

“Kujifunza: The Work of the Africa Teacher Foundation” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in Paff Auditorium, 80 Washington St., Providence. The film is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Molloy, an instructor in the College of Human Science and Services, started the organization after a trip to a Nairobi slum seven years ago. He visited a grade school, where children could barely do their ABCs or count past 10.

Over the years, Molloy’s non-profit, The Africa Teacher Foundation, has trained 740 Kenyan and East African teachers to teach the basics. Molloy says he has reached 29,000 students.

“The film documents beautifully what we do in Kenya and East Africa,” says Molloy. “It’s important for our supporters to visualize our work and see how we change lives.”

The volunteers are retired teachers, many of whom graduated from URI’s School of Education. The non-profit group pays for the teachers’ flight and living expenses, but the teachers, who visit in the summer, work as volunteers.

For more information about the non-profit or the film, visit africateacherfoundation.org or e-mail Molloy at wmolloy48@cox.net. Donations will be accepted.

“I’m very excited about this,” says Molloy. “People will leave with a real strong impression of how important our work is for the children and teachers of East Africa.”

Lavall is an Emmy award-winning producer and director from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. His work has been broadcast nationally on PBS and his documentary films have been shown throughout the United States and world. Kelley is a photographer and cinematographer from Boston, Mass. Their company is called Devlo Media.

Recently completed projects include “Le Wi Tok” (Let Us Talk), the story of a Sierra Leone community’s transformation through radio from war and poverty to peace and prosperity, and “Home Across Lands,” a documentary that explores how a small group of resettled Kunama refugees find support and reestablish their sense of community in New England.

Pictured above: Bill Molloy, founder of The Africa Teacher Foundation. Molloy is a lecturer in education at the University of Rhode Island and spent 35 years at Durfee High School in Fall River, Mass., where he was an English teacher, building administrator, and assistant superintendent of schools.

Photo by Devlo Media