In July Jayne Henson and Sally Squires, staff members at James Peacock, visited Uganda for two weeks to visit several schools, including their link school for the last 2 years, The Vineyard School in Soroti.
The link with this region came about via Honor and Clement Dixon who have visited the area many times. The Teso Development Trust and St Peter’s Church in Ruddington have been supporting and fundraising for this region of Uganda for the last 25 years.
The educational director for the Teso region, Rev’d Charles Oode arranged for them to visit the schools under his leadership to introduce more creative teaching methods. Currently most teaching in Uganda is done through rote ‘chalk and talk’ methods.
Sally said “During our visits to the schools we were shocked by the large class sizes; children as young as 5 and 6 were taught in classes of 200 children without chairs or tables. The classrooms had no resources and very few display areas. Many children have to walk bare foot many miles to school and some children have to board as it is too far for them to walk. These children sleep in three tiered bunk beds in cramped conditions with few belongings or visits from home”
Jayne and Sally enjoyed teaching the children more informally using games with parachutes, circle games, singing and phonics and sharing ideas with the teachers there. They were also able to pass on donations of books, stationery, toys and classroom displays from the parents and children at James Peacock School. These donations were extremely gratefully received as the schools have so little.
A huge “Thank you” is extended to everyone at James Peacock School and in the wider community who helped raise £3000 for these Ugandan schools and children through a variety of fundraising activities prior to the visit. As a result of this generosity each school they visited were given a cheque towards buying resources or equipment.
One school, the Tisai primary school, is situated on an island in a swamp. Over 400 children are taught by one teacher under mango trees. The children have no water to drink at school and the only water available to them at home is the dirty swamp water. They are suffering from famine and there are high levels of malaria, AIDS, and hepititus.
A donation of over £700 to this school will help them harvest water in order to supply the children at the school with clean drinking water. Jayne and Sally enjoyed visiting The Vineyard School (James Peacock’s link school) for a special fundraising event where they were the guests of honour.
The day was in honour of Millie, the founder of the school who sadly passed away this year. The school are planning to build a classroom in her name. They were able to donate £1000 from James Peacock School towards the classroom along with a stunning wall hanging made by the staff and children at James Peacock School.
They planted a tree as a symbol of friendship between the schools and we were treated to wonderful displays of dancing and singing by the pupils. They were also able to take letters from the James Peacock School children to exchange with the children at the Vineyard School.
On their return to James Peacock the school held a special day of African crafts and drumming for the children and Jayne and Sally loved answering all of the children’s enthusiastic questions about their visit.
Jayne and Sally aim to continue to work with the wonderful people they met in Uganda to make life better for the children at the schools. They will be holding information evenings and talks at St Peter’s Church and at James Peacock School and hope to establish a steering group of interested individuals to help work together. They are already planning another visit during their school holidays next year.
If you are interested in finding out more about their visit or the steering group please contact Sally Squires at: Rudd2uganda@gmail.com