Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Final Reflection for Volunteering at Little Light Children Center

Little Light Children's Center is an NGO in one of the most rural areas of Kampala, Uganda, that aims at promoting education for youth and empowering women. Most of the children are orphan from either one side or both and the majority are AIDS carriers. There are also many single mothers that were exploited or abused, husbands abandoned, died of war or AIDS. The living conditions in the slum of Namuwongo are very crowded and unhygienic, without access to running water or electricity. Subsequently, the children don't have many opportunities and are prone to diseases.

The aim of the collaborative project was to help the children (ranging from age 6 to 12) with their school work, such as English and Mathematics as well as spend a Saturday morning per week to simply entertain the kids with various activities and games.

The project started in April 2013 and continued up to March 2014. At first, our project started off with only 2 people but then the number of participants increased during the new academic year. 

Working on the collaborative project was difficult but very enjoyable as well. Organizing lessons were challenging as I was never quite sure how many students will attend (sometimes they were 2 and other times they were a lot more). There were days when they weren't particularly in "studying mood" and kept on chatting and laughing. However, most of the times I must say, they were very keen to learn and carefully did the work assigned to them by us, the tutors. I've noticed since the Wobulenzi CAS trip that students in Uganda are very shy and even though we encourage them to not be afraid to ask for help, they are still very timid about it. "Please tell if there's is something you don't understand" is a sentence I say right after giving a work to my student, but I end up waiting for the student to finish and only after I mark the work I begin to explain the questions or exercises he/she didn't answer correctly. I also don't see myself as a model teacher since I'm very impatient and so I had to restrain myself from getting agitated.

Apart from studying, we also played various games like football and dancing. The children also enjoyed teaching us new games that are very popular amongst the local community. Moreover, the most notable activity that we did in Little Light this year was painting their gate and drawing the the NGO's logo. I remember the first day we went there, and it was virtually impossible to find the place as there was no evidence of a distinct sign or anything of that sort. BUT NOT ANYMORE! :)

Overall, I would conclude my time at Little Light as very enriching and I feel as if I've grown as a person. I didn't necessarily become more mature but rather more aware of the city and the community in which I live. Kampala is very diverse in terms of development, and I know the developed part of it very well but never had an opportunity to experience so closely the poorer and less developed side of it. I was very moved to see that although people might not be as fortunate as I might be, they never lose their joie de vivre.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of the community, Little Light Children's Centre!

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