STITCHES continues to be popular with 27 enrolling to join Year 1. This is amazing and very encouraging. To be honest it is really a few too many but as we have found in previous years there are inevitably some who leave, either because this course is just not right for them or due to family circumstances, we were loath to turn these extra folk away.
JB continues to be very popular as their teacher managing to appear relaxed whilst maintaining control and getting information across. This is really important as many of the students struggled in school and most did not complete their secondary education. It is great to hear laughter coming from the classroom which is a lovely balance to when they are all heads down concentrating hard. Space always seems tight to me but of course most are used to living in very cramped huts, so even though we have now got some tables the students are also taught to use the floor for marking up their patterns and cutting out as this will be where most of them have to work once they leave us.
Whilst on site recently we purchased 3 new sewing machine and stands which were received with delight. The students are very patient and good at waiting their turn but it is great for them to have these extra machine to ease that waiting time!
Jully, pronounced Julie, is doing an excellent job teaching English to both Year 1 and Year 2 students. She comes to teach twice a week, splitting her time between the 3 different ability groups. The students all like her and there has been a marked improvement in spoken and written English which is encouraging for them and us as staff. Jully teaches in the local Primary school where some of our Agape orphans attend. She walks to The Sanctuary site across the fields and teaches our students during her extended lunch break. We are fortunate to have her and are delighted that she is going to continue working with us for a second year.
Whenever there is someone visiting the School who can teach a new craft we are delighted.
The students had great fun learning to make bracelets and necklaces from ‘Loom Bands’.
The standard varied dramatically and it was lovely to see one girl, who struggles enormously with any written work produce the most beautifully smile went from ear to ear and it was a good opportunity to draw attention to each one of us having different skills and abilities.
Because life is hard and choices are few, most find it hard to think creatively. It can take a long time for students to grasp the concept of mixing and matching, perhaps choosing 1 colour from their patterned fabric and using it for a pocket or collar. We try and encourage their understanding in small steps and the exercise shown below was made possible by Jane, in the UK, who made and then gave me dozens of little paper flowers and cardboard crosses to bring to Uganda. I took small groups at a time and when they had chosen their egg or cross (following on from Easter!) They were then able to decorate them as they wanted. They started very hesitantly but soon got the idea and produced some lovely results.
Term 2 has started well and all the students have returned to hear that they did fairly well in their exams and are now keen to learn more new things.
Rosalind Watt June 2017