Meet Isaac

Posted on by Elaine Miller

IsaacIsaac is brand new to St Kizito Bidati Nursery School, having commenced his first year of Kindergarten in February 2015. Every morning, Isaac walks to his class with his older brother who is in P2. Thankfully, the brothers live near-by and don’t have to walk far to come to school.

Isaac is one of the 72 students taught by Petra – one the fabulous teachers whom African Revival recently sponsored to attend an ECD training course. Petra’s passion for teaching is evident as she gently helps Isaac with a drawing task, offering him kind encouragement as he holds a pencil, and traces the outline of a house.

Isaac enjoys school, particularly writing; currently the K1 students are learning how to form the letters of the alphabet. Petra has made colourful flash cards which are helping students like Isaac with this learning task.

After Isaac finishes school for the morning, he likes to play outside with his friends – like many boys and girls across the globe, football is one of his all-time favourite pastimes.

Within Isaac’s local community, many young men become “Boda- Boda” drivers; that is, motorbike taxi-men. Isaac is interested in following suit, and would like to one day purchase his own motorbike. As one of the school’s youngest students, Isaac is a shy young man but our hope is that during his time at pre-primary school, Isaac will grow in confidence, and with the help of Petra and other teachers, develop the academic abilities which will enable him to one day start primary school well-prepared for whatever future he chooses.

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Meet Rebecca

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Rebecca 2Rebecca is in her second year of Kindergarden at St Kizito Bidati Nursery School. Rebecca lives in a village near to the school, although she still has to walk two-and-a-half kilometres to school every morning, a walk which she finds tiring; she makes this daily journey with her older brother Stephen, and her friends Dominic and Fiona who are in primary school.

Rebecca loves reading, because she is very good at it. It is for this reason that Rebecca is so fond of her teacher Denis, because he is the one who has been busy helping her with her reading skills. Indeed, Denis – the school’s K2 teacher – is young, smartly dressed and wildly popular amongst his pupils. Aware that many students like Rebecca arrive at school feeling worn out, Denis begins the school day with some games outside; K1, K2 and K3 join together for outdoor games, singing and dancing to re-energise the children.

When Rebecca grows up, she would like to be a nurse because she likes making people feel better, and I want to learn how to give people medicines. Our hope is that through Jumpstart!, Rebecca will be well-equipped to succeed throughout primary school, secondary school and may one-day become the best nurse in the district.

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Bestseller Update

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Our new School Demonstration Gardens (SDGs) project, supported by the Bestseller Fund, recently launched, in the Amuru district of northern Uganda. You can read more about the project here: http://africanrevival.org/what-we-do/uganda/livelihoods/

Since its launch, our livelihoods team – Babra, Bosco and Patrick – based in the field office of the Amuru district have been hard at work holding sensitization meetings in the 15 schools selected for this programme. During these meetings, the team explain the purpose and components of the programme to the local community, before mobilising the garden groups and democratically voting on the group’s leadership, who then sign a memo of understanding with African Revival, confirming their commitment to the programme.

The livelihoods team has been overwhelmed by the community’s enthusiasm for this project; the team was expecting no more than 40 parents to be involved in each demonstration garden but in some schools, over 70 parents attended the sensitization meetings! Patrick, one of our assistants on the project told us that “we are busy, but we are really enjoying meeting all the parents, and working alongside them to create wonderful gardens which will serve the school, the community and ultimately, the students”

Atiak parent note taking - quoteThe hard work is paying off as the project has been well-received by the schools; during one meeting at Atiak Primary School, one parent (pictured) noted “I am impressed with how African Revival work with us on the ground; it has really built our trust. I am grateful, because as a parent, I don’t always notice the gaps in the children’s school, but African Revival has not only noticed the areas for improvement but worked with us to come up with a solution”.

The sensitization and mobilisation phase of the project has now been completed, and the garden groups are now working on their crop selection and devising their work plan to establish their gardens. With the support of our livelihood’s team, each garden group is choosing – through democratic vote – four crops to grow: a vegetable, a fruit, a field crop (such as maize and beans), and a tree (like banana or mango trees), which can simply be maintained every year. At Atiak Primary School, the group have chosen to plant beans, onions, papaya fruit, and banana trees.

Atiak question time - JohnPlanting will begin soon, but first, the group will receive agricultural training from African Revival, and training on how to efficiently save money so that parents can utilise their earnings from the garden to support their children’s schooling – through paying school fees, or providing scholastic materials. The parents are looking forward to commencing work, with one parent, John, assuring the team that “we are ready and willing to work together to ultimately bring up the level of our children’s education and learning, from where they were. We want to work hard in this garden, so that we can be a model to other schools, who can learn from us”. Indeed, Martin, the vice-chairman of Atiak’s PTA echoed John’s words, by adding that co-operation is key for the success of the garden.

Ultimately, African Revival, wants to parents’ incomes increased so that they can provide for all their children’s needs. We are looking forward to seeing well-fed children thriving at school, and learning new agricultural skills which may serve them well for the rest of their lives.

As the rainy season is now in full swing, and the planting begins, we will be right there documenting the activities so do keep your eyes peeled for updates on our website, and on social media. We cannot wait to sample the crops which will be growing in the school gardens very soon!

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Jumpstart! Update: Teacher-Changer Networks

Posted on by Elaine Miller

rsz_img_0179Over the past few weeks, our Jumpstart! team have been busy mobilising “teacher-changer networks” in the Nwoya district of Northern Uganda. The brain-child of STIR Education (you can find out more about them here: http://www.stireducation.org/) with whom African Revival has established a strong working relationship, the aim of these networks is to provide a supportive forum for teachers to share ideas and innovations which have improved their classrooms, and schools. Past innovations from teachers have included strategies for improving discipline, school hygiene, parent participation in schools, and increased teacher accountability.

rsz_img_0144Each network gathers around 15 teachers from local schools who are keen to develop as teachers, and positively impact their learning environments through exploring each other’s knowledge, and seeking advice from one another. During the initial mobilisation meetings, teachers worked together to define the characteristics of care-givers, and discussed how teachers can demonstrate these qualities within their classrooms. During the meetings (held at our partner schools- Anaka P7 and Koch Goma), we were delighted to see some familiar faces, including teachers we recently sponsored through ECD training; you may remember Sunday, Irene, Evelyn and Petra, who are proving to be incredible teachers!

Indeed, the teachers who have joined the teacher-changer networks are extremely passionate about education, and are keen to see their schools become thriving learning environments. One teacher, Denis- a K2 teacher at St Kizito Bidati- told us “we really want to work together, and support one another because we all have the same goal: to see our pupils succeed. Through these meetings where we can discuss our ideas, I feel like I am already becoming a better teacher because I have grown in confidence”.

rsz_img_0117Each network will be meeting four times each term, and will attend a quarterly micro-innovation sharing event, where teachers across several networks can share their tried-and-tested innovations. STIR Education collates the best innovations into an annual booklet, which is distributed to all networks and allows teachers to draw inspiration for their own schools.

Through these meetings, it has been great to see inspiring pre-primary school teachers build friendships, and supporting one another through these networks in order to provide the best quality of Nursery education possible, giving children that Jumpstart! needed to excel academically, and as individuals.

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Meet Alfred

Posted on by Elaine Miller

AlfredEvery morning, Alfred and his sister Flavia walk 3 kilometres together to nursery school, where classes are held between 8am-12pm. Alfred, impeccably dressed in the school’s uniform of a red-checked shirt and blue shorts, looks the part for a productive day of learning. At the beginning of the academic year, Alfred’s mother bought him shiny new blue wellington boots which serve him well on his long walks to school, particularly during the wet season.

Like his sister, Alfred is in K3 where he is beginning to learn some English, through singing songs with his classmates and teacher. Although Alfred is a shy (but polite) young man, when he is joining in with singing and dancing in the classroom, his shyness is soon forgotten as he exuberantly copies his teacher’s actions and chants. Indeed, Alfred tells us that one of the things he likes most about school is being taught by his teacher, Irene, who Alfred says is very kind to him. You may recall that we sponsored Irene to attend an ECD teaching course several weeks ago, and it is encouraging to see how Irene has applied her new knowledge to really help her students – including Alfred – in their learning through creating an encouraging and supportive atmosphere within her classroom.

Aside from music, Alfred is also learning how to read and write – activities which he is really enjoying, although he says that they can be difficult. Thankfully, Irene tries to make the subject as engaging as possible to help students acquire strong literacy skills. This will allow students’ to progress to primary school with good reading and writing abilities which will serve them well in their subsequent studies. We hope that Alfred continues to enjoy learning and remains motivated, so that many possibilities may be opened up to him as he grows older. Currently, Alfred loves cars and would one day like to become a driver in the city for a big organization.

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Meet Anthony

Posted on by Elaine Miller

AAnthonynthony walks to school from a near-by village to Wi-Lacic every morning accompanied by his brothers and sisters, who attend Wi-Lacic Primary School. Anthony walks a long way to school- around three kilometres- and so Anthony tells us that one of the best things about school is being served a nice, big helping of warm porridge during break time. This filling meal, served in brightly-coloured plastic bowls, gives him energy for the rest of the day, and enables him to focus during his K3 lessons.

During his mornings at school, there plenty of opportunities to rest and play with his classmates, but Anthony very much enjoys learning how to read and write, and says that he is good at forming letters because he often practices by copying his teacher’s neat writing. As many of us have experienced, learning to read and write is no mean feat, and we are delighted to hear that Anthony is mastering these skills well, and we are confident that grasping these key competencies will be invaluable once he progresses to primary school next year.

In the afternoon after school, Anthony helps his mother by fetching water from the nearby bore hole outside his village. Anthony carries a yellow plastic jug on his head considerable distances to ensure that his family has sufficient water for cooking, washing, and cleaning in the evenings. Although this task is a long and tiring one, Anthony tells us that it is one of his favourite activities to do after school.

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Meet Brenda

Posted on by Elaine Miller

BrendaBrenda, like many children at Wi-Lacic’s ECD centre, walks a long way every morning with her brothers and sisters to go to pri-primary school. Sometimes, Brenda gets tired along the way and her older sister kindly carries her for a few minutes.

At school, Brenda is quiet but considerate and enjoys helping her teachers where she can, and will often spend her break time sweeping the concrete floors to ensure that the classroom is nice and clean and tidy for her fellow class-mates. Brenda tells us that she enjoys school, particularly counting; her teacher, Irene, uses old bottles to play counting games which has been helping Brenda learn in a fun and engaging way.

When Brenda grows up, she would like to be a nurse because she likes helping people; when her siblings are unwell, Brenda often helps her mother care for them, and nurse them back to good health. Through spending a few minutes with such a thoughtful and caring young lady, it is easy to imagine Brenda forging a career in medical care and we hope that receiving a strong nursery education through Jumpstart!, Brenda will fully equipped to excel academically in every stage of her studies.

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