When I went to Kampala in January 2019 I was particularly interested in this volunteering opportunity because I believe that it is best to help refugees in their own environment and culture and for the children it starts with education.
I was told that the only things that I would find there was what I would bring and indeed I spent the first 4 months teaching them in the dark church built with corrugated iron panels by the refugee community, with plastic chairs and a small damaged whiteboard as sole equipment. I provided everything else, from pencil up to hiring a teacher to replace me when I had to travel back to Malta in summer. Because, indeed, midway into my stay I committed to come back in September to continue teaching the children. How else could a few months learning have really helped them?
Since there was no project sustaining this volunteering opportunity I decided to set up one.
About the Children
In the Learning Centre
Out of 37 children currently enrolled in the Learning Centre 28 are orphans living with the refugee pastors and other refugee foster families of the Congolese community. While the adults all recognize the value of education for the children, amidst their struggle to survive they just can’t afford it.
This in itself is sad enough, experiencing the eagerness and downright hunger of these children for learning is awesome. In regard to their motivation they are a dream for any teacher and teaching them is very gratifying.
Teaching 37 children aged 5 to 15 in the same “classroom” in the church has been a challenge first of all due to the inadequacy of the facilities. It still remains in the Learning Centre where all rooms can’t be used currently for lack of teaching and supervising staff.
More needs to be done to support better the children according to their needs and abilities: this will only be possible with additional teachers and volunteers.
For all of them the teaching happens to be in English but what they need foremost is writing, reading and counting skills.
APPEAL FOR VOLUNTEERS
- Minimum duration : 2 months
- Minimum age : 18 years old
- Previous teaching experience is a plus but not a requirement
- Requirements: health and travel insurance
- Support in travel preparation and to find accommodation can be provided but volunteers are expected to be able to support themselves financially
- No administrative or other fees
Currently the project sponsors 2 students in local schools
- Dorica, 15 years old. She is going to be enrolled in P5 (Primary school) in February when the new school year will start.
Being behind the average age of any grade is not uncommon in Africa and much less among refugees but it is her last chance to catch up and complete primary education.
- Adolphe, 17 years old completed S5 in November and is admitted to S6 (last year of Secondary school) in February. He will be in a position to take “A” level examinations and graduate from Secondary school in 2020.
Waiting for Sponsoring
- Joel, 19 years old completed Secondary school in Congo and is admissible to university. He wishes to become engineer. Sponsoring for him remains open due to lack of funds.