Education in the community
This week has seen a lot of progress for S.A.L.V.E.’s Community Education programmes. The income and empowerment project we run with a group of women in Mafubira has moved from being based on a dusty veranda next to the main road, to a room in the heart of the village. The move not only provides the women with a safe, clean space in which to work and store the beads, but marks the group’s new name – Kyakatonda Women’s Group. The jewelery the women make is sold in the UK (and in S.A.L.V.E’s online shop) and the money they make has made a real difference to the lives of the women involved and their families.
In the room next door S.A.L.V.E.’s resident carpentry trainer, Olupot, has been busy
preparing for the start of the carpentry programme. We’ve already started interviewing participants for the programme but are still trying to identify more young people in the local area who are most lacking in any meaningful employment or opportunities, and could really benefit from training in a practical trade. In addition to targeting young people in the Mafubira area, we are also hoping to recruit older children on the street who are not suitable for S.A.L.V.E.’s existing programmes.
In Kakira (an area famous for its sugarcane), Juliet has been working hard on setting up a new community project with another group of women – more on this in a future blog!
Back on the streets
Unfortunately last weekend also brought some bad news: the three new boys we took into the S.A.L.V.E. home at the start of September – Ben Paul, Emma, and Joshua – returned to the streets. They had left the home the previous week, but after talking to S.A.L.V.E. staff they came back to the house the following day and appeared to be settling well. It is a timely reminder that the rehabilitation of children on the street is never an easy process. The reasons behind individual children taking to the streets are varied and complex, and the enormity of the jump from a life on the street to a more settled life cannot be underestimated. Only by taking the time to talk to the children and understand their individual stories can you begin the rehabilitation process.
We will continue to look for them and see opportunities for us to assist them when they are ready. Jinja is a small town and it is inevitable that we will continue to see them both on S.A.L.V.E.’s regular street clinics and in our day-to-day lives. There are several organisations based in Jinja who offer different levels of support to children on the streets and S.A.L.V.E. can also collaborate and share information if another organisation able to offer help to these boys.
A place to call our own
Finally, after a long (and sometimes fruitless) search Mike has been successful in securing a room in Jinja to use for street clinics. The room is near the market – an area where many children on the street spend their time. In addition to offering a fixed location for street clinics, having a room of our own will also allow S.A.L.V.E. to expand the ways it can help children. From offering a series of practical lessons on a range of topics to providing a ready supply of fresh, clean drinking water, this will really help children on the street. This wouldn’t have been possible without a generous donation from University of Sheffield RAG (more specifically the Bummit 2011 hitchhikers), so a big thank you to all the students involved.
So – a week that has had more than it’s fair share of ups and downs. The next few weeks are going to be very busy as we make sure all the new programmes are firmly established, but there is a real buzz of excitement around S.A.L.V.E. that so much is happening. Keep in touch to see what happens next!