Greetings from our Gulu team!
We are about to wrap up the second school term of 2018, and so much has been & is still taking placing that we don’t even know where to start from with this update to you. When we founded this organization, we had big dreams. Those dreams became even bigger along the way. At the moment, we are actually seeing some of these dreams become a reality! Are you ready? Let’s go:
At our two partner schools, our project is running according to plan. We continue to be amazed by the positive attitude that the teachers at Gulu PTC Demonstration School have towards improving their support for children who experience learning difficulties. During this second school term, we have been emphasizing independent use of the skills that we trained the teachers in. Practising this during a workshop is one thing, but in the end, it’s all about using it in the classroom! As we explained before, we usually do this through lesson observations. Little did we know that teachers would become excited enough to start asking us to come and observe:
“Am I doing this right?”
“This child needs more help, how do you think I could do this better?”
And guess what? The same is happening at our new partner school, Highland Primary School! Since term 2 marked the beginning of our partnership, we had a number of workshops and lesson observations to catch up on. Fortunately, we found a team of teachers and school managers that is just as welcoming and eager as their colleagues at Gulu PTC Demonstration School. By now, we have finalized 4 teachers workshops, 7 days of lesson observations and a parents training at Highland. We are finding teachers starting to identify possible learning difficulties in their learners and looking at effective, individual ways forward for them. Term 3 will be the final, crucial step towards sustainable support for children with learning difficulties in these two schools. And then? Expansion time!
In the meantime, more dreams are starting to come true in collaboration with one of the local Primary Teachers Colleges and a Nursery Teachers College in Gulu. We were given the opportunity to introduce the concept of ‘learning difficulties’ to over 250 nursery and primary school teachers to be. We just can’t hide our excitement about this, because it means we are empowering current AND future teachers at the same time! We are looking forward to developing an approach that can establish the necessary skills and knowledge within the colleges itself, so that every single teacher will start his/her first day on the job ready to teach every single learner.
During the past couple of months, we have had the chance to be part of a process that is even bigger than we could dream of. As one of the few organizations focusing on learning difficulties in Uganda, we were honored to join a team of the Ugandan Ministry of Education, Kyambogo University and other nongovernmental organizations in the development of a new tool. This tool will help schools identify children with special educational needs as early as possible, so that they can be supported in the ways they need as early as possible. As we speak, the tool is being evaluated by the different departments at the Ministry of Education. After the final approval: ready to be used in the whole of Uganda!
As if all this wasn’t enough, it was finally time for our very first professional training for the Unified for Uganda team. U4U sponsors children at primary, secondary and university level and employs mentors who follow up on these children. We just loved their eagerness to learn more about what they can do to recognize and help learners with possible learning difficulties. At the same time, it seems to be a great way for us to spread the word about learning difficulties through existing projects, to make sure that absolutely everyone involved in the learners’ lives is on board. We can’t wait to do more of this - the next training at another organization is coming up in September.
We are busier than we have ever been, and we are probably more excited about that than would be healthy for us. We appreciate your support so, so much, without you all this would never be possible. Know that every contribution you make to our work through GlobalGiving goes an incredibly long way towards truly making every student count.
Apwoyo matek - thank you very much!
Presenting the new identification tool
The U4U team at its finest!
Teacher training @ Highland Primary School