Jul 19, 2019

Mid-2019: Individualized support for all

A tricky task for the parents
A tricky task for the parents

Hello dear friend,

And just like that, we have reached the middle of the 2019 school year! That means we are half way through our one-year collaboration with our newest partner schools as well. A good moment to reflect on the past 6 months and look forward to what the next 6 will bring!

By now, the established teachers, teachers to be and parents have dived into the details of specific learning difficulties. With the teachers at Kasubi Army Primary School, Gulu Town Primary School and Gulu Prison Primary School, as well as with the student teachers at Gulu Core PTC, we have worked on understanding difficulties like dyslexia and dyscalculia. That includes looking at the different types, their characteristics, and the different possible causes. Especially talking about the causes offers eye openers to them, every time we do it. Why? Because it emphasizes one of the most important aspects we are trying to communicate: children who experience learning difficulties are NOT lazy, dull, or to blame for what they are struggling with.

To make sure that the (future) teachers walk away with practical strategies to support these children as well, we dedicated a full workshop to the development of individualized support plans for learners. Once we have completed our year of partnership, every school will be able to continue setting up and using these plans after we have left, led by a focal person within the school. 

At this point, working with the student teachers at Gulu Core PTC has truly become one of our favorite elements of our project. The fresh energy, the creative ideas and the eagerness to learn that they bring keep us on our toes! During this second school term, we meet the student teachers in their second (and final) year on a weekly basis, and we look forward to it every time. At the same time, we are working together closely with their lecturer who covers Special Needs Education, to ensure that he can integrate the workshops into his own teaching during the next years to come.

In May, we got to change the training scenery for a couple days, as we were invited to come and train the teachers of Shalom Primary School in Pakwach District. We were lucky enough to find an excited team of teachers who actively participated in our 1.5 day training, AND to see some wild animals from the neighbouring national park on our way back: elephant, buffalo and hippo alert! Whenever we can, we include trainings at private schools and other education-based organizations, so we can expand our reach even further.

If you are interested in continuing to support our work, GlobalGiving has a great opportunity coming up that might sound familiar to you… That’s right, Little by Little is back! In other words: from 12-16 August, the humblest donations are celebrated with matching funds for every single donation. In April, the matching funds ran out pretty quickly, so the August campaign will be BIGGER than ever! This campaign will help us cover the remaining costs for our trainings for the rest of 2019, so you know exactly what good your (tax-deductible) contribution will do. We will keep you posted!

Much love from Gulu,

The Backup Team

Dyslexia training for the student teachers
Dyslexia training for the student teachers
All by our favorite Gulu team!
All by our favorite Gulu team!
Apr 23, 2019

School term 1: Growth through collaboration

Transport can be costly...
Transport can be costly...

Hi there!

A belated happy Easter, from our team to you & yours! We hope you enjoyed a couple days of well-deserved rest and celebration. Our team definitely did, and we are ready to update you on what we have been up to the past few months!

Can you believe the first school term of 2019 is already coming to an end in Uganda? A lot - and when we say that, we mean A LOT - has happened during this term: our team was dividing its time over no less than 5 primary schools and 1 primary teachers training college in Gulu. While we worked on winding up the last activities at Gulu PTC Demonstration Primary School and Highland Primary School, we continued our work at Gulu Core PTC, and we started off a partnership with 3 new primary schools: Kasubi Army Primary School, Gulu Town Primary School, and Gulu Prison Primary School. All three schools have their own unique characteristics. We are particularly excited about working together with Gulu Prison Primary School, since it has a special unit for children with (learning) disabilities.

As we speak, we have already finished a start meeting and 2 workshops with all the teachers at the new schools, a parents training at two of the new schools, a refresher workshop at our two partner schools from 2018, and 2 workshops for all student teachers at Gulu Core PTC. And, let’s not forget our weekly lesson observations! These serve to assist the teachers in using the new skills and knowledge that they picked up during the workshops. Through our partnerships with all these primary schools, we are ‘backing up’ the teachers to impact at least 3100 learners in Gulu this year. Yes, that’s just for 2019 - imagine how far our work will reach through the 250 student teachers who are graduating in the next 2 years...

All of this is literally impossible without your support, and you have come through for us once again this month. You probably saw GlobalGiving’s Little by Little campaign return (or contributed to it, yay!), which is all about celebrating the power of the humblest donations in particular. From 8-12 April, every donation up to $50 was matched with 60% by GlobalGiving. We set out to raise $1,000 to cover all our transport costs to our different partner schools in 2019. With a total count of $305, we raised almost of this total in just 5 days!

Yes, that means our transport costs for this year are not fully covered yet. Yes, that means you are more than welcome to make your contribution still. And YES, guess what? You can even do this today! Matched or not, every single donation immediately helps us continue our work and expanding our reach (and is tax-deductible, let’s not forget that).

On 3 May, school term 1 closes officially. We will be entering an exciting time of trainings for partner organizations - another way for us to spread the word on learning difficulties. Keep an eye on our social media pages to see what that looks like!

...but helps us more than you may think!
...but helps us more than you may think!
It brings us to wonderful groups of people!
It brings us to wonderful groups of people!
Jan 25, 2019

Happy new office!

From the floor office...
From the floor office...

Hello dear Backup family!

Since in Uganda we say happy new year to everyone that we have not yet seen since 2019 started: happy new year!! We hope 2019 has started well for you, and that it will be an amazing year for all of us. We sure have some dreams that we would like to see come true!

One of these dreams has been a big one since the day we started this organization. As you may remember, we started our work on the floor. Literally. In 2016, our co-founders Ronald and Annemaaike sat on the carpet of a living room and began. In 2018, we moved to a spare bedroom of the same house, where we finally had a separate office space to work from. But, we quietly hoped that it would become possible to move to a REAL office, outside of our team member’s home.

That is why we set up our #GivingTuesday and end of year fundraising campaign with only one goal: an office for Backup Uganda. We were hoping to raise a year’s worth of rent ($1,000), so that we could move to a humble space that could fit our growing team. Somewhere we could receive visitors without them having to take their shoes off and move through a living room first.

#GivingTuesday came, and boy, we were nervous on that 27th of November. We had no idea that within ONE day, we would just be a few dollars away from raising the full amount needed! And we definitely had no idea that on the last day of 2018, we would have received almost twice the amount we set as our goal: $1,601.

It is hard to find the words to thank everyone who has made this happen (you know who you are). It may seem like something simple, a room with a table, chairs and a couple shelves. To us, it opens doors to incredible opportunities to grow what we set out to do: developing support for children with learning difficulties. We plan to add people to our team this year, and now they will have a comfortable space to help us become a bigger, more effective Backup Uganda.

So how did our new year start?! With moving day! Plot 6, Jivan Abji Road is our new address in Gulu. We are very grateful to Antioch Church for being willing to share a space with us and for being fun neighbours. Check out the photos to see the first, real Backup Uganda office! Please know that it is filled with all the love you have showed us since day one, and that you are always welcome to come visit us.

With love,

The Backup Uganda Team

...to a spare bedroom office...
...to a spare bedroom office...
...to moving day...
...to moving day...
...to the new office!
...to the new office!
 
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