PAINTINGS FROM SOMERO!

PAINTINGS FROM SOMERO!

“Stop child labour. Send all children to school.”
Again, this speaks out to child labour, which is wrong. Children’s rights, are not respected here in Uganda, many kids work in places they shouldn’t work, many of them cannot go to school, some form gangs with other children to protect themselves from adults. Adults should be helping such children, but instead they are using them as working tools, this is not right. Take action, in your own country.

 

*None of the pictures are mine* 

Survey for Education Leaders and Lecturers

During my October break Geoffrey took me to a university called Kyambogo Universty, in Uganda. I had the chance to meet several education leaders, these leaders are often assigned one district, they have the responsibility to look out after that district’s education, and school. They can be investigators, or school teachers. This are the questions I have asked:

 1. What is it exactly that you do for your division?

In general, we are “teachers educators” this means that we train our students to become teachers. This university is known for challenging teachers. We produce teacher trainers, for secondary schools as well as for primary colleges; we are also called “teachers educators”.  This university teaches education, started as a teacher training institution and was later transformed. We issue certificates to all teachers. Curriculum, syllabuses this is where we play a big role.

 

 2. What do you think about the education system of Uganda?

In terms of higher learning, we used to have only one but now they are over 20 in the span of 10 years, education access is now more possible since universities are being created in several areas. The issue of quality is another thing; there are the growth challenges that you meet (space, capacity of staff, employees).

 

 3. If given a chance, what would you change in the education system of Uganda?

The enrollment, teacher learner ratio in primary schools, is too high. One teacher teaches hundreds of children, that’s not beneficial. They are more focused on passing the exam than actually learning something out of the class, there is less of vocation generalization, we’re still emphasizing knowledge but we need to focus more on skills and build them. The teaching is more focused on internship, and practical work, but more time should be allocated for the practical sessions, and the community sessions, that’s when the teaching becomes more relevant. Another thing that is in need of development is being in touch with the community, and sharing experiences. Another one would be on the nature of the curriculum, what we think we’d improve is to transform the curriculum so it fits our local conditions, we are still learning with the American system, as teachers we need to change the curriculum to local needs.

 

 4. As someone who has the chance to raise their voice, what message would you like to give about Uganda to the world?

Infrastructure development, some students are still studying under trees, so building more schools for kids to attend. Supporting vocational education, which requires a lot of resources, which our country does not necessarily have. We need to get help from anyone we can get. So they can help us build that capacity, skill the personnel, and fund it. There has been a slight improvement where many girls are being encouraged to go to school, and there’s a positive mindset towards girls going to school, unfortunately many of them are still lacking education, mostly in rural areas. I’d love to say that we also need to raise inclusive education, for children with disabilities. These kids need to attend school too, with the non-disabled kids, so they can both be in the same school setting and not be excluded. But, teachers are not trained to handle some of these disabilities, and often are not friendly to those who move in wheel chairs. It is extremely important to build a capacity to train personnel to handle these disabilities and also as developing infrastructure, so the school environment is friendly towards these kids. Unluckily there are not enough teachers that this university teaches how to handle these situations, for example sign language, working aids and such. Brain machines are too expensive and assistance is hard to get. 

 

 5. What are ways that the education system in Uganda can be improved? 

Import more practical and vocational teaching/learning, and inclusiveness. There’s a need of focus of building infrastructure to accommodate the number of children, we are still lacking behind. Improving the people ratio, so more schools, we will need to train more teachers. There needs motivation, some refuse to go to work in rural areas where conditions of living are difficult. On a positive note, the government of Uganda has come up with a policy, that allows universal primary and secondary education, when the children go to school they find their constraints. We should also invest in improving the teaching quality, and improving the learning conditions for children.

 

 6. In executing your tasks as Division Education Leaders are there any experiences that you would like to share with other people in the world?

At University level students are motivated to learn. They’re motivated willing to learn but learning never cuts them short. There is not a day that I pass where I do not have one student who is not willing to learn, these kids are always keeping their heads up, and saying yes to education.

 

 7. What do you think I should post on my blog to help raise more awareness?

 Create themes about tropical areas, girl child education, exclusive education, and higher institutions of learning. But all revolves around improving the capacity of teachers and student support facilities and infrastructure. Policies are there, exclusive education, but challenge resources are still scarce to support all these good innovations, we need resources and support. 

PAINTINGS FROM SOMERO!

PAINTINGS FROM SOMERO

“Work is for adults. Send children to school.”
This painting speaks out to child labour, children should not be helping their parents to work in the field, or at home. Children should be getting educated, in good schools, education is free and is for everyone. The more the child is educated, the more he/she will be able to have a better future, and help his/her family. Child labour is against Children’s Rights, and it needs to be resolved.

*None of the pictures are mine*

Survey for Somero Uganda

When I was working with Somero Uganda I had the opportunity to ask Geoffrey, the manager of Somero, several questions about the organization. Here they are:

 

 1. How many vulnerable children are there in Somero?

On average we work with about 100 young girls, every year. They are all slum girls. 

 2. What is the main aim of this organization?

We try to support the education of slum girls, make sure they have a better future and help them become more focused and be accepted back in the community.

 3. What are ways that we can help these girls?

The community should create a supportive environment, and learn to understand them. Many of them have ended up in risk behaviors, which can be extremely dangerous. Many of these girls are pregnant at an early age, and when they are they are looked as outcasts. It’s extremely difficult for them to go back to having a normal life; they are named prostitutes/hooligans and other similar words.

The government should look at the issue of girls who have gotten pregnant and forced to leave school. The current policy is that they are not allowed to take exams and go to school if they are pregnant. The issue of life skills should be much more enforced, boys start at their childhood, while girls are being told that their skills should be, being a good wife, a good mother, a good cleaner/cook, etc. If everyone would help create a supportive environment it would help the girls very much as not to engage in risky behaviors. The other issue is in the girls themselves, they lack self-confidence, they can be better than the men around them but they are too afraid. If the girls learnt to be assertive, know what they want and go for it, it would benefit them a lot.

 

 4. How many girls have you succeeded to take out of poverty and put in schools? 

We have succeeded with about 200 girls and young women, in a period of 3 years, excluding the ones in schools, as there are many.

 5. In the past month/year have you seen an increase in the number of street children living in Kampala?

Yes, too much, mostly because of trafficking, girls are brought to work as house girls, or as street venders. Some of them get put into random houses and places, if you move around you’ll find a number of them. Specifically in Kawempe slum there are a lot of “pimps” that collect girls and promise them jobs, but betray them and put them in brothels and bars. They are trafficked, there are a lot of girls working in bars, and they are left there to use their bodies to seduce the men. Mostly the girls are not paid, there is also an increase in woman trafficking, and many are not even born in Uganda, but trafficked from other countries.

 6. What are the main reasons these children have become vulnerable?

 Mostly, they try to forge life, the slum setting is somehow less expensive, you can find a small house here to rent at about 30 000 Ugandan shillings. Even some of the girls who live with bf, the bf can rent. Many times the girls are set for arranged marriages, or forced marriage, as a result of the parents being in need of money, when they get forced into marriage, sometimes the relationship fails to work out. Sometime the girls can team up as a gang and work together to earn money and share it within themselves.

 7. Where do the majority of these children come from?

Here in Somero Uganda we’ve only got one who was trafficked from Congo, she came to Uganda because of war. Many of the girls do not come from Kampala, 50% are from the central of Uganda (rural areas), about 20% from the west region, 10% east, 20% from the north. 

Paintings from Somero!

Paintings from Somero!

This painting is located in Somero Uganda, it says “Children shouldn’t work in bars… Let’s fight against child labour.”

Many children, here in Uganda, have to work in bars or night clubs. Especially women, this young girls are then forced to use their body as a way to earn money, sometimes they do not even get paid. They often work as strippers, or cleaners. Many times they are abused, by their boss, and the clients. Children should not work, they should be at school, and we need to help these children so they can have a better future.

 

*None of the pictures are mine*

Nakabanda Steric’s Story

*Names may have been changed due to security reasons*

I was born on the 7th of December in 1992. When I first attended school I was 5 years old. Kawempe Primary School was my first school. For Senior 1, I transferred to Mtanya. My parents were not paying for my school fees, they were paying for other kids; I was being raised and paid for by someone else. After my Senior 5, and Senior 4 years I could not afford school anymore. I found myself not going anywhere, and so I tried to work. I worked as a teacher in a school but I did not work there for so long, only 2 terms. After this I gave up. I loved to study, but I didn’t have enough money and no one would take care of me. I was all by myself. There’s a friend of mine who’s a doctor, we were talking and he asked me if I were still interested into going back to school. Immediately I told him that yes, I’d love to. He introduced me to Somero Uganda. I want to go to university, and study mass communication; I love traveling, and meeting new people.  I went through a lot of difficult times, when I could not pay for school fees and so had to find a job for myself. It was as if I couldn’t even have needs and materials for school. I had to provide myself with money, but now luckily I am here.