THESE CHILDREN, THEIR FUTURE IS WHAT WE GIVE THEM TODAY
Lakidi Alvin Akena, is an above average intelligent crèche class pupil at SOS Kindergarten School, Entebbe. At three years next January 2016, he is now promoted to middle class. Friendly, inquisitive and ever with leading questions, which attract relevant answers upon request. He also enjoys music, rebuilding models and playing the piano. Lakidi’s environment is “A loving home for every child”, extremely empowering and stimulating to the infant children. The classrooms and playing areas are spacious and tidy with appropriate learning and playing aids. The teachers and caregivers are all a part of the healthy Kindergarten. Yesterday, Nov. 26, 2015, the top class graduated. What a colorful presentation it was! All the classes had a piece or two to present individually or collectively!
To prove that the children and staff of SOS is a family and well groomed to effectively interface with the world, they all got involved in a cross-generational story, “The Sound of Music” presentation. The presentation was based on “The Sound Of Music” by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, released in April of 1965 (USA). They did it justice,sang the “The Sound Of Music” and delivered it to the well attended, excited and satisfied audience! “These Children, Their Future Is What We Give Them Today”. This presentation experience endeared the parents and visitors to the school, justifying why every child should graduate at SOS Kindergarten or schools of similar empowerment, exposures, and commitments. The top class graduates did finish their three preparatory years. They are now ready for a seven-year primary education that precedes four years of ordinary secondary then two years of advanced level secondary schooling that when passed, ushers one to between four to seven years of University studies. At the climax, they were presented with their completion certificates as they finally bid the school and audience “So Long, Farewell” and “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” sweet and memorable songs!
This Early Child Development Centre (ECD) equips the children of this world and the future with appropriate foundational knowledge and skills to help self and humanity advance. This foundational welfare determines every child’s future. However, thousands of their age-mates in the countryside, even next door, do not have the privilege of starting, sustaining and completing nursery education, nevermind joining and completing higher stages. Others skip it to start primary school because of “dodging” expenses, age or parental fatigue, burdens, poverty or ignorance resulting from illiteracy.
The endless war in northern Uganda has affected mostly women and children. Many women have become widows as a result of the rebels killing their husbands. Consequently, they are overloaded with the heavy responsibility of looking after orphans.
And women do not have time to rest. They wake up early in the morning to find ways of feeding their children, with whom they have to move long distances in search of food. At the end of the day, they come back very tired, and so stressed and frustrated that they cannot sleep at night.
The majority of women are suffering due to the loss of their husbands and relatives. They look for money to take their children to school yet they have no proper source of income, nobody to give them a hand, because almost everybody finds herself in the same situation.
Children in the aftermath of war
The SOS Social Centre in Gulu supports over 250 children and mothers in the community who have been affected by the civil war with counseling, and medical, nutritional and educational support. Former child soldiers also receive counseling.
Education, health care and employment are human rights. Due to poverty, illness and the political unrest in the area, the number of children without the support of their natural family is increasing steadily and SOS Children is constantly developing its approach to child care in order to meet these changing needs.The aim of our “Family Strengthening Programmes” and SOS Social Centres is to respond realistically and effectively to the situation of orphans, vulnerable children and their families and to prevent child abandonment. Through skills training, literacy classes, education, counseling and improved nutrition the families know they can become independent, self-reliant and confident in their own ability to provide for the children in their care. Ultimately the communities want to care for their children.
Socially, most women have low self-esteem as a result of this war that has left with them lifelong bad memories. Either they have been sexually abused by the rebels and other people taking advantage of war, or they have been abducted from their families and taken to the bush, where they have seen their loved ones being killed. They find themselves lonely and isolated leading to low self-esteem and inability to cope in the society.
Many young women are child mothers who bore children after being forced into marriage by the rebels at a young age. This has affected their own mothers who see their daughters returning home, at the age of 20, with several children. And the social life of the local Acholi women has greatly changed. Some women have become unfaithful while others have unwanted pregnancies and end up either aborting or abandoning the babies on failing to be supported.
Children are traumatised
Children, on the other hand, have been very much abused. They return home from the bush when they are mentally traumatised and unable to live with other normal children. They display inappropriate behaviour to the extent that handling them requires specialists, who are lacking in our community. Men have abandoned their families and children have suffered most. This explains why there is an increasing number of street children in Gulu town and other towns in northern Uganda.
In Uganda, more than 10% of young people aged 15-24 are unable to read and write.
In Uganda, there are currently three SOS nurseries and one SOS school. These facilities provide education to children from SOS Villages and from the wider community. Staff members are well trained and the resources available to students are of a high standard. Below you can find an overview of the SOS Children education projects.
Learn more about the work we are doing to educate children and young people in Uganda.
SOS Schools in Entebbe
The SOS Nursery at Entebbe has around 90 children, with approximately 15 coming from the SOS village and the rest from the local community.
- The nursery has adopted a rich curriculum to support the development of the children. Curriculum activities include story-telling, library time, Jolly Phonics, numeracy, creative skills, television time and environmental studies. The children are also encouraged to practice social etiquette, such as using ‘magic’ words like sorry, excuse me, thank you and please.
- Teaching is based around various themes/topics, such as home and family, animals and plants, transport and the country. To enhance their learning, the children are then taken out on trips related to their themes. Recently, visits were made to the Wild Life Educational Centre and to the airport in Entebbe.
Find out more about sponsoring a child in Entebbe.
SOS Schools in Gulu
Opened in 2009, the SOS Nursery at Gulu now has around 40 children, with over a quarter coming from the SOS village and the rest from the local community.
- The school has a well-planned curriculum, which offers a quality program of education. Reading and writing activities include Jolly Phonics, stories and plenty of reading materials such as flash cards and story cards. Swimming lessons, outdoor play and music, dance and drama help develop the children’s motor skills.
- The children’s learning is based around different themes each term, such as wild and domestic animals, transport, plants and food. Visits around these themes have included a trip to a local bus park and air strip, where the children were allowed to sit inside a plane.
Find out more about sponsoring a child in Gulu.
SOS Schools in Kakiri
The SOS nursery at Kakiri has over 90 children, with around ten from the SOS village and the remainder coming from the local community.
- The nursery is a beehive of activity all year round, with tasks and activities particularly focused on ensuring all the children can read and write. Parents are encouraged to become involved in their children’s learning and three parent-teacher meetings are held each year.
- As well as the annual sports day and graduation for year 3 children, special events and celebrations take place throughout the year. Recently the nursery held a fashion show, where the youngest children made costumes from raffia, year 2 children from drinking straws, and year 3 children from paper.
The SOS primary and secondary school at Kakiri has nearly 250 students at primary level, over 100 from the SOS village and the remainder from the local community. At secondary level, there are around 140 students.
- The school organises a whole range of activities to encourage the children’s academic and social development. These include a number of clubs, such as the science, debating and writer’s clubs. Sports include netball and football. Recently, children have also received a weekly newspaper which provided ideas for teaching and learning (sponsored by the Zain mobile phone network).
- The secondary school recently held an HIV/AIDS awareness week, where pupils were encouraged to write articles and display work on notice boards. SOS medical staff also gave counselling sessions about HIV/AIDs and a school show was organised with sketches, plays and songs. To round up the week of activities, children from the school were invited onto a local radio station talk-show about the disease.
We invite you to join us at Hope for Post-war Children in Northern Uganda by donating to help a child attend one of these great school opportunities. They have an excellent program but money is always the issue that keeps these children from the opportunity to obtain a quality education.
To donate please visit our Go Fund Me account.
Donations can also be made via Pay Pal HERE.