A little bit of this and that...

This past week
I visited both Kayenzi and Rubirizi. At Catherine Booth preschool the cildren greeted us with a drama and sang for us.
Porridge and drawings
Then they had porridge and I gave a small talk and gave two children their drawings in nice frames (as they are now finalists) as part of the big Preschool Competition (the winner will be announced in January) 
Uniform for teachers...
When in Kayenzi I also had some time to see my proposal for staff uniform as the young women at the vocational training had made an example. It almost looks like I want it too, so I think it will be good.
Now I need to get those fabric labels; the shield with "THE SALVATION ARMY" on them.
Maybe some of our donors can help us with that? We will need fifteen items to put on the teachers uniforms.

Wouldn´t it be wonderful? Or not?

if you could send your children to school for free?
I mean, really for free...
I visited Rubirizi yesterday, and every time I go there I feel with these parents. They are struggling, no water supply, no electricity, way out in nowhere and the children are very many in every family here.
 We celebrated the very first end of the very first preschool year in Rubirizi village history. This has never happened before! These beautiful children are the first in their village to finish one year of preschool. How amazing isn´t that! All six year olds got a diploma and the younger ones received a transcript,
and because of the occasion, I had brought lollipops for them all. If there was water in the village we could have had lemonade and bread, but it is a bit complicated to get it here, so a lollipop is a good alternative. 
Also I had the great privilage
to hand over the two drawings that have made it to the final in the Drawing Competition "I love preschool because..." One child in the age 3-4 and one child in the age 5-6 were given their drawing in a beautiful frame.
In Janyary the jury,
led by CPWM Colonel Jamiya,  will announce the winner of the whole competition, 14 children out of 530 have been chosen so it will be exciting to see who will win the toys and Teaching Aid for their preschool in the end. 
After the end of term celebration
the parents gathered so that we could follow up on the commitment they made in September; that they would send their children to preschool ( "not keep them in the fields or watching the cows" as the local government Social Board Officer said) and that they would pay the school fees 250 Rwf* per month (Sep, Oct, Nov) to show that they are really committed to giving the children preschool education which they started in January 2012 with the assistance of local salvationists.
If so The Salvation Army would help them administrate and supply with school uniforms thanks to a donation. The school uniforms are finished, well almost, we still need forty more, but the Home League in Muhanga has agreed to make them for a small cost.
So we sang and prayed and then the Parents Committee gave their report. It was going okey, some families are very good at paying, but some do not pay reguarly and so it is difficult to pay the teachers.
Thanks to a donation The Salvation Army is contributing some money to the two teachers allowance every month, so the parents will have to do their part also.
I believe it is the same questions all over the world, in every congregation or club, this issue is a common problem.
How to solve it? Shame them!
in calling out their name in the meeting, one parent suggested.
No, I said, we do not want to do that. The parent that is not paying knows it, the Committe knows it, that is enough. To shame and disgrace has never been a good solution. We need to help each other to push and encourage- this is for your and our children, if you give them acess to preschooling, they will develop much better, intellectual, emotional, social and mental.
Parents; you need to remind yourselves and your neighburs that this is a way out of poverty, freedom and a good life. But of course if you as a village do not commit, how can we then help you? We are committed to help your village if you are...

Sometimes I think to myselves,
what if I could just say: Send your children to school- no charge, what so ever! (That´s how it is in my home country, all children are obligated to go, free of charge for ten years)
And then I realise it is not the question nor the answer. A parent need to see and understand the benefit of school... so if neighburs encourages each other, discover the knowledge the children is learning from being in school, all these families will be strenghtened in the future, and motivated to get their children in to school.
*RwF/610= $US 1
250Rwf/610= $US 0,41
Photos and Copyright: Anna-Maria Tuftstrom
Free to use in The Salvation Army
Others; send an e-mail and we´ll work something out :)

Preschool for a pig

On Thursday, Nov 8, I visited Kayenzi with Major Bente, Principal for our Training College and her guests, Majors Anne and John from Australia. We started the day by walking in the beautiful landscape to visit two families with children in the preschool.
Section Officer Captain Jean Damascene let us visit two of the families that have a "preschool piglet" in their home. We now have eight preschool pigs, four new piglets and four almost grown up pigs.
In the first family, there are six children and they cannot afford to send the youngest son to preschool.
They are struggling because they don´t own any land and have to buy all food for the family.
They try to grow as much as they can outside the house but in a big family, it is not easy
 to supply for all children. 
In the spring of 2012 they entered a mini project "Preschool for a pig" that The Salvation Army in Kayenzi is doing, a pilot project to see if we can do an income generating project for poor families in the Kayenzi area.
The piglet has now grown and will soon be pregnated.
We are counting with at least six piglets, the mother pig will stay to raise the piglets for three months. Three piglets will then go back to school (to go to new families that need the income to pay for preschool) and three piglets will stay on in the first family as their own property. Hopefully they will take care of them and start their own "business" of feeding up pigs as an income for the family.
Family number two that we visited has four children, no land of their own and they now send their daughter to Catherine Booth preschool thanks to the project. They have the youngest piglet, and will take care of it for seven months before it can be old enough to be pregnated.
It has his own room and came out to greet us when we came. It was very alert, looking for something to eat, and looked like a happy little pig.
When we do the selection of which families can be offered to join this "preschool for a pig project", we discuss with local government. We ask them who would benefit, who could have the ability and capacity to take care of the pig. Together with the Corps leader we then select the families.
Kayenzi is a village in the Rukoma Office and they have even put this project in their "performa" that they then have to show to the president Paul Kageme. We are happy that we are doing this together, especially since we will do a big project if this test is a sucess.

Outdoor play equipment

We were given funding in 2011 to build som play equipment and finally we have been able to find craftsmen to build them.
It hasn´t been easy, but now we have a wodden slide/swing and tower at Catherine Booth preschool. On Thursday I visited the school and inspected it. The children are very happy and enjoys playing there.
I asked the Section Officer to ask for plastic or metall in the slide, I do not want the children to ruin neither clothes nor get hurt by splinters when they go down the slide. So I will come back to see if it has been done by January.
Next idea in the future is to add a sandbox and some climbing frames.

I <3 preschool because...

I arranged a drawing Competition during September with the theme: "I love preschool because..."
All children in the nine preschools have turned in drawings and a text of why they love preschool, so nice and funny and crazy and beautiful!
I will send some of them to you sponsors and friends as a Christmas greeting from us, but I can´t wait until then so here comes some examples of the drawings that the chosen representatives from each school have created.
The Command President of Womens Ministries has chosen one child from each school in the age 3-4 years old and one child in the age of 5-6 years old to be  finalists. They will then be judged by a prominent jury with the CPWM as chairman and the winner will get some toys for the preschool he/she attends as a prize.
I love preschool because... I have friends there
I love preschool because... I learn the colours!
All the children that "win" in their age group in every school will ge their drawing in a nice frame and then for the winner of the whole competition, he/she will get toys to the preschool, so that all the children will benefit of the prize :)
Photos and copyright: Anna-Maria Tuftstrom
Photos can be used within The Salvation Army
Others; send an e-mail and we´ll work it out :)


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