What we do » B2A @ Bukumbi
Education at Bukumbii
Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty for the children of Bukumbi. The education programme began in 2007 because of the problem of the high number of children at the centre and not attending school.
This year, in conjunction with the staff at Bukumbi, a, we have started a small playgroup for the children who are not yet of school age. The playgroup is every morning and consisting of arts and crafts, toys and games. The children will also start learning numbers and letters. This will give the children from the centre who speak the tribal language of Kisukuma a strong grounding in Kiswahili which is the language they will be taught in at in school.
The children have great fun and get a chance to learn to play and share with each other.
At the beginning of the education programme we assessed the problems that the families were facing and the reasons they gave for their children not attending school. Issues ranged from not having the correct school uniforms and equipment, to having to domestic chores at home such as looking after younger siblings.
Working with the local Primary School at Kigongo, we monitor the children’s attendance monthly. If the attendance is low then we visit their homes to see why the children are not attending. This encourages the families to ensure that children are going to school. Now the importance of child’s attendance at school is being recognised and encouraged. Attendance levels have increased over the last few years and there are now certainly less children at the centre during school hours.
The reasons for non attendance are sometimes very easily solved by getting exercise books or pens and pencils. The children are rewarded with a certificate for good attendance at school as a small incentive!
We are also supporting Kigongo Primary School with teaching training and support with planning and refurbishment of some of the classrooms.
Secondary and Vocational
At the end of Primary School the children take a final examination. If they pass this then they will gain a place at the local Government Secondary school. If they do not pass then their options would be limited and many would either stay at home and continue the cycle of dependency and poverty.
Since January 2009 Bridge2Aid have support the students from Bukumbi Care Centre into Secondary or Vocational education.
Government Secondary schools often have relatively low fees but for the community of Bukumbi these fees are often far too much for them to be able to afford and therefore even if they have secured a place at Secondary school they would be unable to go.
Through Bridge2Aid Sponsorship programme we ensure that the children from Bukumbi have a chance to achieve their potential. Sponsorship covers the student fees, accommodation and food (if boarding) uniforms, school contributions, travel expenses, health care and books, and tuition during the holidays.
We have 9 students in Secondary school and in Vocational school learning mechanics, sewing, and carpentry. They are all great young people who are learning important new skills and are become confident and active members of the community.
By supporting the students into further education we are also supporting the community of Bukumbi Care Centre. An education will improve the chances of the children finding employment and will therefore be able to become providers for their families, making their families less reliant on the centre itself.