Earlier this month a team of volunteers from our corporate supporters, including The Body Shop at Home™ and Redburn, set off to Uganda to help out with our second action-packed playscheme.
Aside from bringing a whole raft of colour and fun, the week saw the children grow in confidence, explore their curriculum in new and creative ways and learn new methods of sharing about their lives.
The scheme was held at the Child Friendly Space we support in Soweto Slum, Jinja where children from the most vulnerable households in the community come each morning for early years learning, nutrition and fun. Activities were held in the afternoons to compliment lessons in the morning. They were open, not just to the enrolled students, but to the whole community with most afternoon attendance totalling 250-300 children. Here’s some of the highlights!
Making something out of nothing
The team of teachers at the Centre are recycling champions, who create learning resources, toys and games out of local materials and discarded bits and pieces from around the area. Throughout the week the children made juggling balls out of earth and balloons, dragonflies out of pipe cleaners and serviettes, clay models from Nile mud, maps of Soweto with twigs, stones and grass and a junk orchestra using plastic bottles, sticks, brushes and stones.
New ways of sharing ‘News news’
Each morning the children at the Centre share about their lives and thoughts in a session called ‘News News’. This is a melodic routine with each child telling their story with a rhythmic group response. To build on this exercise, one afternoon all the children enjoyed a ‘Lucy and Butch’ puppet show, then made their own sock puppets and experimented with interacting using their puppets. This is a resource not just for fun, but an aid for teachers in talking to the children about trickier subjects.
Nurturing self esteem
Mask making and creating hand print designs on a new parachute was all part of developing a sense of identity with the children. In addition to this, a few children were asked to help lead the afternoon games, and the impact of being given this role was incredible. Ben Wilkes, Head of UK described how “They did such a great job and seemed to grow 6 inches in stature too. Their life situations might be tough, but the way they transformed in just 60 minutes makes me think that they started to connect with something of what they were made to be”.
Livening up learning and the usual dose of colour and fun
Morning lessons were given an added twist with activities done in the afternoon, like a maths lesson unfolding through making number puzzles to take home, and story time evolving into group role-play and singing.
Aside from the various learning milestones.. a huge part of the week consisted of simple, unbridled fun. Activities included football, rounders, ‘Duck Duck Goose’, ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’, ‘Hokey Cokey’, French Cricket, parachute games and (creating the most excitement) a huge Bouncy Castle. It was the first time any of the children at the Centre had laid eyes on one, let alone bounced on one, so it went down a treat. With a significant development in concentration from last year, the children were able to get the absolute most out of the games and activities.
We’d like to thank our wonderful volunteers Sara, Justine, Rachel, Rose and Karina who alongside Ben and Emily from Children on the Edge and the fantastic team at ASDN, made such a contribution to the week.
If you’d like to find out more about the project in Uganda, simply visit the project page or read our other news stories bout the Centre.
If you’d like to donate simply click here or text EDGE14 £3 to 70070 to give £3.