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Going strong and vocational

Posted on August 25, 2016

Vocational group with chairs, table and book shelf they made (1).jpgWe’re very pleased with the way our new vocational programme is going – it’s helping our less-academic kids gain some very useful skills that let them their sights on future jobs.

We’re not talking about ‘slow learners’ who just need an extra ten minutes of teacher’s time every now and then – these are children with significant learning difficulties. In the UK they would probably be sent to a special needs-type school. 

They see their classmates shooting ahead and they find themselves left behind, feeling confused, isolated and losing hope for their future. It becomes difficult for the teacher too, seeing a kid getting demoralised and then watching that turn to boredom, distraction and then trouble-making.   

So at the beginning of this year, a new vocational/life skills group was formed within Child of Hope school. Alongside our staff, Emma Stewart (UK volunteer teaching advisor) formed a new style of syllabus for these children which focuses on the simple basics of reading, writing and maths.  During the morning hours, 12 children work around a big table with teacher Juliet, going over such things as phonics training and simple number recognitions.  Juliet does her best to make it fun and interesting while taking it at a very slow pace.  

jewellery making group (1).jpgDuring the afternoons, lessons get really interesting! We’ve employed community members who come in and teach vocational skills. Mr Mayeku works with some of the children on carpentry and they’ve made simple money boxes, stools, folding chairs and free-standing shelves for the library (top picture). Sarah comes in and spends time with the children showing them tailoring skills. They all have a go and have made simple cushions and bags together.    

Julia comes in and works with the children on jewellery-making. The kids have had great fun thinking up new designs and carefully, painstakingly threading beads to make colourful necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Their first batch were swiftly snapped up by our female staff members who were happy to pay for their new accessories – the profits from which go towards more materials for the vocational programme.

The change in the children is starting to show… they have greater enthusiasm for coming to school, they’re proud to be a part of a new pioneering group (they’ve nicknamed themselves ‘P8’ as normal primary school finishes at ‘P7’!) and they’re seeing that they can be good at something. In fact, it’s so popular that some of the more academic children have been asking to join the group!

It is still in its early stages and we are keeping a careful eye on its progress, but we’re pleased that analysis shows the children are doing well. We have plans to bring in other vocational skills later in the year and we are excited to see what the future holds for these children.

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Roll up, roll up

Posted on August 22, 2016

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A trade show turned up at the football stadium in Mbale, complete with a display by Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (the zoo in Entebbe), showing various animals (ostrich, lion, leopard, monkey, etc) – and we took our our older children (P4, 5, and 6) along to see it.

It was all a completely new experience for them and they had a great time… there was a talk from one of the zoo keepers… they had their faces painted… and had a ride on the, erm, swing thingy.

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Leaving a gift in your will

Posted on August 16, 2016

Christian Legacy - LOGO RGB (2).jpgChild of Hope has become a charity partner of Christian Legacy, a body which helps people understand the value and purpose of leaving a gift to a charity in their will. It produces a free legacy guide, which can be requested online.

Leaving a gift in your will to Child of Hope would help ensure that your beliefs and values are passed to future generations of the people of the Namatala slum through the work we do. And it could help us change lives there, long into the future.

If you are considering leaving a gift to Child of Hope in your will, it’s very easy to do. Simply give your solicitor our name, address and charity number, and the amount of the gift or the proportion of your estate you’d like to leave. He will do the rest. 

For this purpose, our details are: Child of Hope, 7 Milborne Crescent, Parkstone, Poole, BH12 4ES. Charity number 1136068

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New video: all our 460 children

Posted on August 11, 2016

Just for fun... here’s 30-second video showing all 460 pupils and staff at our school in the Namatala Slum – standing on the verandas at the school and cheering their heads off.

If you'd like to see the video full-screen, please click here to watch it on YouTube - or click here to see it on Vimeo.

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Keeping the children safe

Posted on August 8, 2016

Main front gate (2).jpgOver the last few years, we have all seen around the world the type of gruesome and horrific mayhem that acts of terror can cause to cities and communities. In the east of Africa, where Child of Hope works, communities have suffered at the hands of al Shabaab. Just last year 147 young people were killed at Garissa University in Kenya (our neighbouring country).  

And now it’s getting closer to home. We received a message from the District Police Commissioner that threats had been received against educational institutions in our area and that all schools should take extra precautions to keep children and staff safe. 

With this in mind, we have erected a chain link fence with barbed wire on top around the whole of the school compound. We have also erected two gates… one for deliveries of firewood, etc and one being the main entrance for children, staff and visitors. Our two security guards – on duty 24/7 – have been trained to politely but carefully check every visitor before they enter the premises.

It is sad that we have had to do this, but unfortunately it is a sign of the times and we must do our very best to keep our children alive and well. 

But on the plus side, it does mean that we have a smart new gate which includes a small room from which we can sell snacks, etc to the children and local community… all proceeds going towards furthering our programmes.

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Duck eggs are wonderful!

Posted on August 4, 2016

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Duck eggs.01214.jpgAt the school, our ducks are laying eggs like there’s no tomorrow.

Some are being sat on by their mums and we’re hoping those will hatch out successfully.

The rest are being eaten… yum! Yep, we’re very happy with all our Donalds and Jemimas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Graeme's visit

Posted on August 1, 2016

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It was great to have a visit from Graeme Wheeler, who is the uncle of Martin Hayter, our Uganda-based volunteer who heads up our building projects and our Income Generating Activities (IGA) programme.

Graeme travelled from the UK and spent time visiting the school and its local community… seeing first-hand how our services have such a huge impact on the poorest and most vulnerable slum families.

He said: "I've just come to the end of a ten day visit to my nephew Martin at Child of Hope in Mbale. It's a thrilling place to be in as it provides an education for nearly 500 children who wouldn't have received any schooling otherwise. Equally fascinating was going out into the locality and villages to meet the families who benefit from the IGA scheme. A big thank you to all the committed staff who generously gave me their time."

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Clean hands beat diseases

Posted on July 29, 2016

Handwash-1199.jpgGetting dirty hands clean on over 400 children before lunch can take ages!

Washing hands is new to virtually all the children when they join the school, but is a vital part of our health and hygiene training for them – to beat typhoid and other intestinal/tummy problems. For a long time we’ve been using jerrycans full of water mounted on sticks, but they break easily. We needed a solution… and now we have it!

We have built a permanent station with ten push-taps (low enough for our tiny nursery pupils) so the hand washing process is now much faster for the enormous queue of kids – and it saves staff time and effort setting them up, allowing them to concentrate on their main jobs.

 

 

 

 

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Health... are we winning?

Posted on July 26, 2016

Measuring height (1).jpgIt’s time for our annual health survey! As part of our monitoring and evaluation process, this involves carefully constructing a questionnaire and then undertaking a thorough medical exam of our own children and then those of similar children in the community (who do not access our programmes). 

This year we had help from some medical students and staff from JOY Hospice – the clinic we often use when our children fall sick and it is beyond what our small sickbay can manage. 

With administrative and organisational help from our own staff, every single child at Child of Hope was weighed, had their height recorded, had their bodies thoroughly examined for wounds, parasites, vision/hearing problems – frankly anything that might give clues to their physical well-being. We also ensured they had their termly de-worming treatment at the same time.  

After two days of line-upon-line of over 400 children, the survey team bravely took up their clipboards, stethoscopes, de-wormers, chairs (and umbrellas to keep the sun off!) and went out into the community. The welfare team went ahead to organise prospective subjects by talking with parents and community members which meant that there was a good crowd of kids and parents/guardians ready and waiting for when the medics got there.  

Of course, doing medical examinations in the community takes a bit longer that the school and over the two-day period they managed around 300 children.  

We are still analysing the figures but we are pleased to see that the various interventions we organise at Child of Hope are still making a difference and improving the health of our children in comparison to their counterparts in the community. The full report will be on our website shortly.

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Latest video: Now I'm Free

Posted on July 18, 2016

Here's a terrific new five-minute video about our work in the Namatala slum. Fear permeates everyone's lives in the Namatala Slum... but Child of Hope is working to bring hope, God’s love and release from the chains of poverty to young slum kids and their families.

Those of you met Bex Okotel on her UK summer tour may have seen this video... but it's worth another look!

If you'd like to see the video full-screen, please click here to watch it on YouTube - or click here to see it on Vimeo.

Soundtrack: The song ‘Do not be Afraid’ by artist Kaleb Jones is used with permission. The Music Bed, LLC. 9555 Harmon Road, Fort Worth, TX 76177 1-800-380-8154

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