Since the start of the year our Child Protection Team has been working in Loco slum community in Uganda, building relationships and providing a series of community led child protection trainings. Part of their work here has identified a gap in the provision of education for younger children and this month we have broken the ground in the building of a brand new Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Loco.
As a result of talks with the community and in preparation for the ECD programme, we needed to introduce ourselves to the children by organising a week full of hope, life, colour and fun. This materialised in our first ever playscheme in Loco.
Hosted by Children on the Edge Africa, with volunteers from both Montezuma’s Chocolates and The Body Shop At Home™, the playscheme was attended by over 300 children who enjoyed a huge array of activities from sports, crafts, parachute games and a morning on a bouncy castle.
Not only this, but with the emergence of serious health problems in the community during the week, the team adapted the programme to provide a full day’s training on health and hygiene with songs about hand washing and puppet shows on keeping clean and safe from illness.
Volunteer Pam Alcock aid “We all worked together to give the children a fun but educational week that they can use and pass on to everyone in their community, making Loco a cleaner safer place for them to live. It has been a privilege”.
The team spent an afternoon with the Child Protection Team (CPT) in Loco, gaining an understanding of the many issues that threaten the safety of children in the area, and the ways in which the CPT are working with the community to address them. They were able to visit the Loco area, as well as Masese I and Masese III. All three of these areas are slum communities that we have recently begun working with, where people are facing appalling conditions.
“Visiting Masese I, II and III gave me the understanding of the progression that is possible” said one of our volunteers, Becky Holmes, “but also the desperate conditions that these communities are facing”.
The volunteers also spent some time in Masese II where we have been working for over three years. Here they were able to see the transformation that is possible as the area has become cleaner and brighter, with evidence of some thriving small businesses sparked by the Child Protection Team’s micro loan scheme.
“The team were fantastic” said Ben Wilkes, Head of UK “They were adaptable and resourceful, creating a colourful, exciting and educational week for the children at a crucial point of the project. This was our first visible activity in Loco community after months of working behind the scenes providing training and building relationships. It was a great introduction and a vital step as we work towards the launch of Early Childhood Development programme”.
Co-founder and Director of Montezuma’s Chocolates, Helen Pattinson said “Thanks to Children on the Edge, these people have hope, life, colour and fun and I am proud to have been a small part of that process. I am so happy to have seen in detail how COTE work within a community to make small changes to help themselves. This is a sustainable, long term solution to essentially basic problems (by our first world standards) and I can truly see how the impact of their work will have positive outcomes for the children of Loco who we have fallen a little bit in love with this week".
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