10 December 2008

Promoting Performance Acceleration in School



As our Third term ends, we usually have children get promoted from one class to another. Children who excel are promoted to another class while those who fail in their end of term exams repeat the class.

At Springs Alive Children’s Centre, we usually give particular acknowledgment to children who have excelled. This term, we gave special gratitude to children who have been in Nursery (Top Class Section) and are starting their primary one next year.

Nursery Section here is made up of three sub-sections i.e. Baby Class, Middle Class and Top Class with ages ranging between 3 – 6 years. We dress these Children in Ceremonial outfits as graduates.

We also have other activities coupled with the event which include; presentation of gifts, award of recommendations and/or certificates, much and/or good cooking and eating, music show and/or entertainment, parent’s involvement etc.

All this is done in recognition of the progress these children have made, with a significance that they have moved from an easy or basic/elementary level to a more difficult or important level. In this way we motivate these children to keep their grades high.

Special thanks go to the teachers who help these children to learn and are always with them when they are at school.

28 October 2008

A BUSINESS OR A VOLUNTARY COMMUNITY INITIATIVE?

The way Springs Alive Children's Centre (SPACC) started was a result of the need that was in the surrounding community. Many children used and still remain in their homes; some children who are able bodied are taken to do field work. The incapacity of these children's going to school is mainly as a result of the guardians and parents of these children saying they cannot afford the school fees of the nearby schools, let alone the long distances these children travel, the hunger the children have to endure all the day while at school, to mention but a few. SPACC was started with the objective of meeting some of the needs of these children, including, Educating them and where possible avail vocational skills.I have been telling people who think that SPACC is among the several businesses that have come up to compete with other schools, this is, as usual business of all sort tends to be having competitors and economically this is termed as healthy, even in politics, a Nation to be termed democratic has to have Multi disciplines.


I have told people who think we are competitors with them, that even if SPACC was not in existence, that is, if Springs Alive stopped having children at SPACC, still there would be need for this kind of service in our community. We are here to work together, to reach out to those who are incapable and not to be viewed as a threat, who works toward having other schools bring their children to our school, wanting them to close their businesses etc. Within Springs Alive as an Organization, we have come up with several Divisions, these include; Education Division, Peace and Conflict studies Division, Health Division, Research Division, Environment Division and Collaboration Division.It's within the Education Division that Springs Alive has developed links with several Educational Institutions as a way of being supportive to each other. In this way Springs Alive Education Division makes links with willing Educational Institutions in order to enhance learning from each other even with the international linkages SPACC creates.SPACC with its humble setting has continued to thrive, “a day at a time” and this is mainly attributed to the support Wakiso District Administration has given Springs Alive, even as far as recommending Springs Alive management to make links with the Centre Coordinating Tutor (CCT) Office with which we at SPACC intend to set up an exchange learning centre as a way of promoting learning exchange. The roles of the CCT are in the linkThe CCT office is within operating catchment as SPACC and we have together purposed to work hand-in-hand so that Educational levels in our community are uplifted.It isn't surprising that such kind of initiative is often being welcomed in many different localities, given the kind of development Uganda as a Nation is in.


The chairman Springs Alive on many occasions has been approached in order to have such an idea in other localities and has sighted financial constraints, no logistical support yet for Springs Alive to support such initiatives, as some of the barriers. We always keep record of such interactions and given time Springs Alive will be able to reach them.Among the few we have reached out, which we are still developing and working on closely include; starting a business research centre with Multitech Business School(we created multitech blog check it on http://www.multitech-mbs.blogspot.com) we have had an interaction with Kigoogwa Brain Trust Senior Secondary School, we also have high hopes of having an integration with OTA(Outreach to Africa)-on supporting needy students and children.

WATCH THIS SPACE

Our Prayers Have Been Answered

Praise God, On October 27 a generous donation was received from Roath Park School. We are very grateful for the continued efforts of Roath Park to help us improve classroom conditions for our students. We hope they will visit soon and see first hand how carefully and intentionally we have managed their donations improving the quality of life for the children in our community.

Community Initiative



Efforts to sustain Springs Alive require the hard work and dedication of even the smallest members. Shown here, building with brick and a papyrus classroom.

THE LATEST FROM SPRINGS ALIVE CHILDREN’S CENTRE(SPACC)

In a struggle to construct a classroom at Springs Alive Children’s centre (SPACC), after Roath Park visitors gave some gifts to SPACC which included scholastic materials eg.pens, pencils, rulers, sharperners, colour pencils, text books, a laptop computer, balls for soccer and rugby, clothes, dolls and some money to embark on a few renovations, many people have been wondering how we are progressing with such breakthrough SPACC achieved.
  • SPACC has continued to support Education in this area given all hurdles we pass through.Parents, guardians and the children look at this school with good hope of thriving.
  • Some of the money has been used as follows:
  1. There was a garage which had been built long ago but wasn’t yet roofed. This is now roofed and inhere we now have nursery classes ie.baby, middle and top class all study from here.
  2. There was an old classroom block, which has been repaired. In this classroom block we now have P.5 and P.3 study in the same room, after demolishing the wall which was in the middle of this class that was preventing enough fresh air to come in and also create enough room for one class just in case, in future we built more classes. The other separate room on this same block, which used to be the black room, the nickname Julian and Simon gave it after seeing it(originally this room used to be a kitchen) in which P.5 used to study, after it was refurbished has once been used as a teacher’s residential house, in which 2 teachers used to sleep. We had to tell the teachers to rent a house, now the room is sometimes either used by Primary 4 or Primary 2.
  3. We also used some money to start on building the foundation for the new classrooms with the hope that if our friends from Roath Park added us more money, we would get somewhere with the building. We were asked by our friends from Roath Park to give them the total cost of what it would take to complete the whole new classroom building. Then the work was halted because this needed us to get someone who was technical in this field to write for us a “bill of Quantity”.
  4. We now have a reduced number of 3 classes still studying in papyrus made classes(they have no classroom yet) ie.P.1,P.2 and P.4(the picture is attached) and Nursery class still study together in the Garage ie.Baby class, Middle class and Top class.
PUPILS AND PARENTS ENGAGE SPACC:
In one of the recent parents and teacher’s meeting, it was agreed that parents, teachers and SPACC pupils who can, should once in a while come together and make local bricks made from soil, in order to make a contribution toward what Roath Park did. The parents and teachers saw it a challenge, Roath Park coming all the way from UK in Europe to give support to an insignificant school in Uganda (East Africa).In one of the pictures you can see children making a pile of the made bricks to prevent them from getting spoilt; mainly by rain.
The Parents, teachers and pupil’s involvement to make these bricks, which are affordable to them, has been a positive sign and as a way of being appreciative to what our Roath Park friends did for SPACC. At SPACC we have told the teachers, parents and pupils that much as the work is at a stand still, there is great hope of moving forward and we will try any means possible to see to it that the situation improves. We have thus kept these people’s morale high not to get discouraged, some have thought we are using such tactics in order to lure children to SPACC .We have appealed to the parents and guardians that we will need their support when the building resumes although once in awhile you can’t miss getting a funny comment. One such funny words that the people here in Uganda use to imply promising something and you don’t deliver, is KIWAANI” literally meaning that we promise air or we are corrupt liars. Recently one member of Springs Alive was making suggestions as regards the way we should be doing some things at SPACC and a teacher was heard retorting KIWAANI”.The teachers were being advised to work with morale. Indeed at SPACC we have encumbrances in regard to having teachers at this centre given the fact that these teachers are paid very little money, many children at SPACC fail to pay the little money asked them and they cannot be compelled if they fail to pay, this continues to be a big challenge since there are no means yet to sustainably cater for this. Also where we have dug the foundation, there used to be a banana plantation, people have been heard saying that by now we would have ate the matooke that were slashed while clearing the site to set up the new classrooms. Such comments have existed because local people think that we use such occasions to entice more children to join SPACC.
Putting that aside, there is need for room to accommodate the ever increasing numbers of children that is presented at SPACC. When Roath park asked us to tell them how much it would cost to complete the building, we wrote a bill of quantity and posted it to them and we are of the hope that we will soon receive good news from them.
We have also requested our Roath Park friends to do what they can in order that at least a classroom can be built. We still have a promise from them, which we are still waiting for in order to quell the unrest of inquisitive people who we had given a lot of assurances given that we had great hope from Roath Park.
Before the Roath Park visitors came to SPACC, Springs Alive had not yet developed capacity even to show that we could use a video conferencing kit which was one of the items Roath Park people where to give us if we had electricity at SPACC and since the Roath Park people had previously sent to us an advance party, we are sure they must have briefed Roath Park back in Wales how insignificant we were. This gave us much food for thought and as Springs Alive the CBO (Community Based Organization) we have had to sort ourselves out and we’re sure if Roath Park people were to come back now they would be mesmerized of the encounters we have established.
It’s our prayer that at SPACC, we keep a good name with all our links wherever they maybe. May the good LORD bless you.

16 April 2008

Pupils forge links with children in Uganda

Apr 10 2008 by Moira Sharkey, Western Mail

CHILDREN 4,000 miles apart have forged a life-changing friendship.

Having seen pictures and heard about the lives of youngsters at Springs Alive School in Uganda, pupils from Roath Park Primary, in Cardiff, made it their mission to help.

In one week of fundraising they had £3,000 in their appeal fund – a lottery windfall for the 100 pupils in the village of Seebi in East Africa. Many of the pupils on the school register are orphans having lost their parents and grandparents in the civil war or from HIV/Aids. All are taught in just two classrooms. There is no electricity, no running water and children have to walk more than five miles from their homes to attend lessons each day. But they make that journey as they know that education will give them a way out of poverty.

With the cash from Wales, a new school block can be built and the classrooms refurbished. Roath teachers Simon Ellery and Julian Husband travelled to Uganda to deliver some supplies before helping the staff plan for a new classroom block and a refurbishment of the current building.

They arrived with rugby balls and shirts, pencils, sharpeners and bought books and equipment locally.

Describing the moment the pupils saw the new school supplies Francis Omia, a member of staff at the school and one of the organisers of the Springs Alive educational scheme said: “When the pupils were shown scholastic materials such as sharpeners, pencils, rubbers and books they were thrown into a frenzy shouting at the top of their voices ‘twafunye obusongola ekaalamu, twawonye gilita’ literally meaning we have now got sharpeners, we are saved from razor blades.”

He added: “For us in Africa it’s unbelievable to be given anything in such a manner even the used clothes and shoes sent to Africa find their way to shops where they are sold at exorbitant prices. Thanks to the fundraising efforts at Roath Park, the pupils of Springs Alive are able to build a classroom block and repair the old classroom block. Since the visitors left, we have been overwhelmed by inquires from children wanting to join the school.”

For the children in Roath their fundraising week has been an experience they will not forget and the beginning of a lesson on how children are living in other parts of the world.

Uganda is now a more prosperous and peaceful country than it was a generation ago. It has been ravaged by civil unrest. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a cult group, has been responsible for massacres in the north for almost 20 years. It believes that the country should be ruled by a strict code based on the biblical Ten Commandments.

It is estimated that the violence displaced more than 1.6 million people and tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or kidnapped. It ended in 2006 when LRA and the government signed a truce.

Headteacher of Roath Park Primary Colin Skinner said: “When we launched the fundraising week we had no idea how much we would raise. The children had been told about the school and saw pictures. They really wanted to help. They raised £3,000. That is life-changing money for these children in Uganda. It will make a real difference. The experience was also really worthwhile for our pupils as it gave them an understanding of the lives of children in other parts of the world and gave them an opportunity to do something to help those who are not as lucky as they are.”

Mr Husband said: “On arriving at the school it was obvious it was just worlds apart from anything we are used to in Wales. The classrooms are so dark and there is nothing on the walls. There is no electricity or running water. There are no school dinners and children make do with what is growing around them. The idea of a free lunch here is eating sugar cane and lots of fruit which is growing on the site. Uganda is a luscious green land. It is a beautiful place.”

Mr Ellery added: “They have so little, but they are so happy. These children were all smiles. They were so grateful to receive anything. A local branch of the organisation Teddies for Tragedy, which sends knitted teddies to children in third world countries gave us dozens of teddies to take with us. We did not have one for every child but each teddy came in a bag. The children who received a bag were as delighted as those who got a teddy. It was quite incredible. These children know how important an education is. They know that it is a way out of the poverty.”

It is hoped that the educational links can be developed in the coming years. If Springs Alive gets electricity it can be connected to the internet and pupils and teachers can email each other. Questions pupils have about Wales or Africa can be sent directly and exchange visits for staff are being considered.

11 April 2008

Pupil in Cardiff, Wales Raise the Roof on New School

Reporter Moira Sharkey posted an update to the school fundraising efforts to finance a new school for Springs Alive. Please click the excerpt from the article to read it in full.

Now we are the Only School with Rugby Balls!



Praise be to Jesus the most gracious.

Hope you are happy and sometimes thinking of Uganda.
I am sorry for taking so long to communicate , but one thing I noticed is that after your visit, my life was changed and now I see things in a new way.
• I feel important and alive.
• I feel highly respected.
• My zeal for working for the community was re-kindled.
• You may never know what an impact your visit had on us but it was so great.
• The number of children has greatly increased from 80-100 to 150 pupils, though they don't pay but atleast they do come to school.
• In lower classes, we had never been able to do drawing and shading for lack of coloured pencils but now children want to do it almost everyday. They enjoy it so much.
• 90% of our children knew not the pencil sharpeners.
• We used to borrow past papers from other schools and exercise books from pupils of other schools in order to get worksheets and other teaching materials.
• Having been so humbled and touched, I now move around villages searching for the children who do not attend school to come and enjoy school life at Springs Alive although some can not afford to come to the school because they lack clothing, can't afford to buy exercise books and pencils. Sometimes I have to convince their parents to allow them time off their farms to come to school.
• Teachers now enjoy teaching because of the text books we received- although we need more skilled teachers from there to come and share education experience with us.
• The sharpeners, crayons and the pencils, the teddies made us feel special-it was our first time to see them.
• Many professional teachers now come in with their applications for jobs though we have not yet got the capability of paying them.
• The renovations made caused a lot of comfort to both teachers and pupils because we used to move from one shade to another to another and the next, in accordance to what the weather was. We used to sit three classes in one room but now there is room at least room for some classes to sit as one class.
• The balls we received from Roath Park Primary school have brought a big change. We started training ourselves and on Friday 4/April 2008, we are having a friendly match with a neighbouring school-thanks.! We indeed now have some kind of recognition as regards sports competition here in our Town Council-Kakiri, not to forget mentioning that so far according to the survey made we are the only school in our Town Council with rugby balls!
• Thank you for the computer, for I can now do such a work on my own.
Friday 28th march 2008 was the day we received money into springs alive account at Stanbic bank Uganda which you sent on 28th Feb. 2008. We have now embarked on the new school construction; you will see update pictures and expenditures soon. Otherwise we have attached the draft sketch of how the new roath park class is going to look like.
Roath Park Primary school, we have you at heart and all we can say is God bless you.

Yours truly
Nalwebuga Teddy-headteacher.

30 March 2008

A commentary from Springs Alive Children's center on the visitors from roath Park

ROATHPARK; A RAY OF HOPE FOR AN AFRICAN VILLAGE SCHOOL

18th Feb. 2008 by Francis omia of springs alive children's centre, sebbi village, kakiri, wakiso district.


The week 17th to 23 February saw a lot of activity in the usually quiet sebbi village in wakiso district. All week long the pupils had been practicing "God save the queen" in preparation for visitors from roathpark primary school and the welcome song, "are welcome our loving visitors, we are happy to receive you, my heart, my happiness………" am sure by now the youngsters from roathpark could have learnt this song from Simon one of the teachers from roathpark he seemly liked it a lot to the extent of singing it along with the pupils of springs alive.


With all the gifts from roathpark, the visitors were not so disappointing however it was not until the pupils were shown scholastic materials such as sharpeners, pencils, rubbers and books that they were thrown into a frenzy shouting at the top of their voices "twafunye obusongola ekaalamu, twawonye gilita" literally meaning we have now got sharpeners, we are saved from razor blades. On translating this to Julian from roathpark, he got visibly moved by the plight of these pupils and went on to ask Francis who is a staff of the school about two youngsters aged around 9 and 10 standing at the school boundary watching all the excitement. When told that these donot not have the opportunity to be at springs alive children's center in their neighborhood is a free school, neighborhood here can mean 5 to 10 kms some pupils walk over 5kms to school every day and if chanced eat sugar cane for break. The visitors had a go at the sugar cane and could not peel the cover; you know Whiteman's teeth are so weak.


Back to where we were, on learning about the two unlucky youngsters at the boundary, Julian immediately picked two jumper shirts and went over to the school boundary, on receiving the jumpers the two youngsters dashed off like they had been sent away. For us in Africa it's unbelievable to be given anything in such manner even the used clothes and shoes sent to Africa find their way to shops where they are sold at exorbitant prices, almost anything goes in Africa because there is so much need.



Thanks to the fundraising efforts at roathpark, the pupils of springs alive are to be built a classroom block, the old classroom blocks have been repaired and painted. You can imagine how much more would do for these hopeless orphans who lost their parents to the civil war and HIV aids that have ravaged this part of the world. Since the vistors left we are overwhelmed by inquires of children wanting to join the school,


In our culture when you are given something the best form of appreciation is to give back so the staff (martin, Francis and Teddy) and pupils of springs alive have become restless since receiving all these gifts from roathpark, mind you this is supposed to be a partnership . The art and crafts class decided that they make banana fiber balls and teddies for the visitors to travel back with to roathpark primary school. Understand they liked the balls. This is just the beginning of the partnership, the pupils of Springs Alive children's center want to exchange letters and share experiences with the youngsters of roathpark. Unfortunately, springs alive children's center is still striving hard to get solar electricity or get connected to national power grid so that they can have classroom to classroom interaction. Can you imagine the children's center could not get the video conferencing equipment as promised by roathpark because of this electricity problem? Staff from springs alive children's center would like to visit roathpark primary shool and learn from their experiences since they are over century old as compared to the 3 year old African school as well as share with them experiences from this part of the world.


Thanks to roathpark primary school, to the pupils, to parents, Moira, Collin, Simon, Julian, Kathy and others for the great love you have shown to our children in seebi village.


omiafp@yahoo.com

28 March 2008

A New Voice from Uganda

A new voice can be heard emanating from a small rural village outside of Kamapla, Uganda. It is a voice of hope and a voice of champions. Martin Sebuliba the author of this blog started the Springs Alive Children's Center after a career in the government. Dissatisfied with his ability to impact positive change for his people, he set out to make his dream a reality. He envisioned a place to nurture and educate the next generation of Ugandans who had suffered the ravages of wars and disease. He established a community for these orphans and is using the internet to reach out for help to keep this very important community vital and strong. Martin Sebuliba is a new voice. He is a leader with values, commitment and determination. Listen to what he has to say in this new blog. It will give you a fresh inside look at the problems faced by children on a daily basis in their struggle for survival. You too may be compelled to help. Not long ago, a school in Wales sent two representatives bearing gifts. They took some amazing pictures. Help by spreading the word about Springs Alive Children's Center in Uganda, link to this blog, raise awareness.