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Creativity, fun, sports and more with Carpe Diem Education Volunteers

April 14, 2012 1 comment

Carpe Diem Education (www.carpediemeducation.org) are regular visitors to Edirisa, stopping in Kabale twice a year, each with a different group, as part of their East African semester. A semester with Carpe Diem provides students with a unique opportunity to study and volunteer abroad.  Volunteering, community and cultural exchange are central to Edirisa UK and Carpe Diem,  and it was great to welcome another group this March.

A visit to Kitanga’s Special Needs Education Center (SNEC) has been on Carpe Diems itinerary for the last two semesters and is becoming a favourite amongst it’s students. Days at SNEC were split between classroom renovations and creative workshops. Due to the fast expansion of the school in recent years there are more classes than classrooms at SNEC, requiring different abilities and ages to be taught in the same classroom. Edirisa UK with the help of Carpe Diem  have provided partitions for two classrooms to ensure a more practical learning environment. With the help of students and teachers  Carpe Diem painted educational material specific to different classes on each side of the wooden partitions, creating a fun and informative backdrop for each lesson.

Bead Making

Bead Making

 

Creative workshops in the afternoons provided an opportunity to work closely with the small classes of students, each with specific learning difficulties. The theme this year was jewellery and our visitors taught and assisted the SNEC students to make their own necklaces and bracelets using hand made beads of rolled paper. With these beads now fashion statements in Europe and America it was a great workshop for Carpe Diem to lead and a bright, colourful, fun and very sticky afternoon for the SNEC students.

 

The second half of Carpe Diem’s visit took the team to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, and the ‘Heart’ of Edirisa. First on the itinerary was a day spent with one of Edirisa UK’s women’s craft groups at Rubona. This gave the students a chance to look over the plans for the future Rubona development – an orphanage, nursery school and craft workshop at the top of the hill over looking the lake – and to experience a day in a craft woman’s life. The craft lesson started with the ladies teaching the group two simple bracelet designs; one using banana fibers and one with raffia grass. After the students mastered these (some better than others!) it was time to learn to use the pedal powered sewing machine. This caused some problems for the students used to automatic electronic machines, but proved to be a fascinating learning experience.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

After a deserved weekend relaxing and visiting islands around the lake, the final task for the volunteers was to run the annual Edirisa Nursery School sports days, over 2 days, at Bufuka and Kyabahinga Nursery Schools. The nursery students were split into teams, each with an American team captain and over the course of the morning competed against each other in a number of grueling relay races.

An obstacle course kicked off proceedings at both schools which saw the toddlers negotiating a tricky arrangement of balancing beams, tables to crawl under, and benches to jump. Then came an egg (ball) and spoon race, a hilarious three-legged race and a very excitable sack race! Although one team from each school had to be declared a winner, a great time was had by everyone and the teams went home satisfied with their performances.

Obstacle Course

Obstacle Course

The following evening we bade our visitors farewell, and wished them a safe onward journey to Kampala. Here in Kabale, we’re already looking forward to welcoming a new group in the ‘fall’.

Christmas Celebrations

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Top Nursery student with his mother

Top Nursery student with his mother

Christmas is almost here and our nursery schools have all ended the academic year with excited children, proud parents and lively celebrations. In Uganda the schools run from February to December and so our Christmas celebrations were also a chance to congratulate our graduates in Top Class who will move up to Primary One next term.

At Lake Bunyonyi the graduation ceremony was held in Kyabahinga church, with parents from Bufuka crossing the lake to see the performances and honour their children. In a country where rural education is often neglected (with families preferring children to help in the fields) it was great to see such a high turnout of parents. The ceremony was presided over by our Mushomesa (church leader) Edirisa’s Head of Nurseries, Ashaba Phionah .

Students from each class performed songs, dances and drama sketches, with thoughtful messages from both of the graduating classes. Bufuka children asked the audience to take care on the road and “avoid dangerous driving”, whilst the Kyabahinga class reminded everyone of the importance of education.

Kitten in the play

Kitten in the play

Of course the highlight of any function in Kabale is the traditional Kikiga dancing, this time led by the smallest students. Anyone who has been lucky enough to participate will know that the drums and dances become more energetic and exciting as they progress and although the performances began with only our nursery children, they culminated with parents jumping in too; the church floor thumping and dust flying into the air!

There was also lots of dancing and singing in Bukinda as school ended. Our volunteers Maria and Johanna organised a Christmas concert, which combined new songs taught by the girls and traditional songs led by music teacher Joseph.

Xmas celebration at Ryabirengye

Xmas celebration at Ryabirengye

At the end of performances Operations Manager Lewis Dixon looked back over the past year, thanking parents and students for all of their hard work and looking forward to all that we have planned for Edirisa UK in 2012 (and there will be a lot going on so watch this space!)

Overall it has been a great ending to the term and welcoming of the Christmas season! To Edirisa volunteers and supporters around the world: Kulika Christmas from all of us in Uganda!

I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip, hip hop, a you don’t stop…

July 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently, a talented group of professional Hip Hop artists from Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, donated their time to head down to South West Uganda to host a week long hip hop workshop for the children at Ryabirengye School.

Hip Hop Week, Bukinda, Uganda

Hip Hop Week, Bukinda, Uganda

The children were divided into groups according to their chosen activity and spent the week working towards a showcase that was held on the Saturday morning. The activities ranged from break dancing to comedy drama, rapping to riddles, and bit boxing to poetry! Expecting the children to be shy and unsure, volunteers were thrilled at the children’s enthusiasm. By the end of the second day they could hear budding rappers and see break-dancers in training everywhere! When Saturday came around teachers, parents and other children turned out to watch and, despite the rain, it was a great success.

We are thrilled at the outcome of the week, very impressed with the children’s talents and grateful for this opportunity. The group from Kampala did a great job connecting with the students and really managed to get the most out of them. And as enjoyable as it was for the children, it was also rewarding for the teachers. They supported the whole event, helped with translation and daily organisation and came away with a broader understanding of the benefits of extra curricular activities.