When the president closed school due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we worked to send back the children to their homes. However, some children remained behind and continued to stay at Wells of Hope Junior School, the residential school for children with imprisoned parents, under the care of Wells of Hope Ministries. The children stayed because of various reasons which include: some have no homes to go back to, some are at risk in their communities and others were rescued from their communities. During the lockdown, most of the children who had gone back home faced a lot of issues; some had been forced into slavery, Wells of Hope as an organisation rescued these children and they are now safe and continuing their studies.
For the period of March when schools were closed up to date, we have continued to care for these children by providing them essential needs and also we have endeavoured to provide them an all rounded education that has enabled them to continue with their education uninterrupted. Through a program we call COVID Combo Education. This program involves providing the children an all round education which includes the regular lessons as per the government curriculum and vocational hands on skills, whilst we did this we also taught children how to avoid COVID 19 and provided them updates about the pandemic, that’s why we call it COVID Combo Education.
Due to COVID-19 government directives, the teachers couldn’t continue teaching the children directly as it was before, so what we did was to install Television sets in classes and the children continued to having their education uninterrupted. So While at Wells of Hope, the children are able to continue their studies through recorded video lessons compiled by their teachers. We record their teachers on videos from studios in Kampala and then the children are able to be taught through these recorded videos at the Junior School. We also provide them typed notes made by their teachers. The notes are in tutorial form and are made consistent with the recorded videos.
Besides this, we also provide the children with vocational training; the training is provided via Videos and also through instruction by their fellow children who already have the skills and are assisted by resident school Matrons.
We provide the following Vocational Skills to the children:
- Cookery/Culinary Skilling; they are teaching them how to make snacks (like chapatis, meat balls and cakes) and casual food.
- Hair dressing; they are training them how to braid hair (twist, 3 stands), how to plait dreads, crotchet weave and cornrows.
- Tailoring; they are training them how to sew skirts, dresses and bags (cross-bags, purses and backpacks)
- Video Editing and Graphics.
On December 2nd, 36 children graduated in above mentioned skills; the children were very excited as they received certificates!
We hope that by having a combination of the regular curriculum lessons and vocational skills will equip children with a hands-on skill or vocational skill so that when they complete their studies, they are able to start up an income generating activity back at home.
Because these children meet challenges in the communities, even making some of them drop out of school as a result of early marriages or other reasons; we hope that by providing them these skills they are able to continue with their lives by starting business of their own or even finding employment.