Alternative Education

Amagezi Education Centre

Amagezi Education Centre

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand” - Benjamin Franklin

A photo of the entrance to the Amagezi Education CentreThe Amagezi Education Centre (AEC) is a unique and inspiring centre in the heart of Kyabirwa village. Pupils from partner primary schools from across the Jinja District visit throughout the academic year to enjoy practical, interactive and hands-on learning sessions using equipment they do not have access to in school.

AEC’s Misson

“To enhance the knowledge of life skills through fun, creative, innovative and hands on education.”

 

The Centre opened in February 2007 and is a pioneering educational facility with a dual focus of;

  1. Enabling schools to meet the needs of Universal Primary Education (UPE);
  2. Building the capacity of local communities to tackle poverty.

This short video will give you a good idea of how the Centre works. It has also enabled us to spread the word about the project and to assist with fundraising for the running of the Centre.

Projects

The core value of the AEC is that access to learning and information holds the key to individual and community development, and should be available to all. Two years of research and consultation within schools and local communities, together with the results from numerous pilot projects culminated in the final development of our educational and capacity building projects. Each project is designed to contribute towards enabling communities to break the cycle of poverty in which they are living. The main focus of the Amagezi Education Centre is the P6 Pupils’ Project, but several Community Development Programmes are also run through the centre. Click on the links below for more details:

Other AEC Links:

Murchison Memories

Murchison Memories Exhibition

Left: Ponsiano Ssemwezi, the former director of Uganda National Parks at Paraa Education Centre in Murchison Falls National Park. 

Right: The Soft Power Education refurbished Paraa Education Centre in 2007.

Our Murchison Memories Exhibition aims to highlight social, historical and cultural attributes that impact current conservation issues. Through photographs, artifacts, stories and contemporary art the exhibition is designed to allow local school children and overseas visitors alike to learn more about conservation and the challenges both the national park and its surrounding communities face.

In the 1960s Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) was a premier tourist attraction that received up to 60,000 tourists a year. Since then, decades of national and regional turmoil ravaged the park’s lodges and other facilities, leaving Uganda’s tourism industry in a dismal state. Today, tourism in Uganda is booming. We believe that it is vital that people maintain an appreciation of the reasons why Murchison Falls National Park is the way it is.

The exhibition is still a work in progress but watch this space for its imminent relocation and reopening!

Pre Schools

Kyabirwa Children’s Centre & Buwenda Pre School

“Free the child’s potential and you will transform him into the world” Maria Montesorri 

eager kids for website

Soft Power Education funds and runs two pre schools for 180 orphans and vulnerable children, often children of AIDS victims or sometimes just from desperately poor families. Buwenda Pre School and Kyabirwa Pre School offer children a chance to be children for a few hours each day, learning the basics of being in a learning environment, social skills and basic English, but of course, the key focus of our pre-schools is that the children learn through having fun!

Our organisation completely covers the costs of both pre schools and families do not pay for their children to attend.The ongoing generosity of donors and volunteers ensures that we are able to cover everything from paying the teacher’s wages to books, pencils and new uniforms at the start of each academic year. Our volunteers, both long term and short term, can get involved in the day to day running of the pre schools – assisting the teachers or even running their own small workshop with a handful of kids. Have a look at our volunteering pages to learn about volunteering opportunities with Soft Power Education.

We work closely with community leaders to ensure that the children at our pre schools are the ones who need assistance the most, and each pre school has both a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and School Management Committee (SMC).

Although we cannot guarantee that every child from the pre schools will go on to primary education, they are given a good foundation for learning and a strong sense of being loved and looked after. They are tiny children, but they are immensely independent and wise for their age and with their smiles they brighten up the hearts of all involved in giving them a good and much needed start in life.

Buwenda Pre School

buwenda kids for websiteBuwenda Pre-School was not only the first pre school to be built by Soft Power Education, but it was also the first ever building project undertaken by Soft Power Education! From humble beginnings this is where SPE began. Located on the main road between Jinja and Bujagali, the pre-school sits on land gifted by the community and took two years to build with donations and support from visiting overland tourists working alongside our Ugandan builders.

Headmistress Anna leads the pre school alongside teachers Hellen and Regina who each teach a class of 30 children aged between four and six years old.

 

 Kyabirwa Children’s Centre (KCC)

Buwenda for website

KCC sits in the heart of the Kyabirwa community close to the banks of the River Nile. KCC was born out a request from the community members who, having seen what SPE had achieved in Buwenda, wanted the same opportunities for their children.

The children at KCC enjoy a large compound allowing them plenty of space to run around outside and to host our annual Sports Days, which see the two pre schools compete against each other in races, bottle filling, balloon bursting and more! Have a look at the link below for photos of the 2014 Sports Day.

Headteacher Justine and teachers Hilda and Milly teach the three classes everyday from 8.30-12.30.

Other Pre School links:

Special Needs

Betty_03 Juma_01 SEN_Christmas_Party_27 Aisha_02

We believe that all children are entitled to an education regardless of their race, religion, sex or disability. Children with special educational needs (SEN) face many challenges in their everyday life in Uganda due either to the severity of their disability, a lack of funding for specialist equipment and schooling or simply society’s misunderstanding of disability.

Our SEN programme aims to overcome some of these barriers to give children with special educational needs the opportunity to live active and productive lives.

The programme aims to enhance and train teachers, therapists and community members in Special Educational Needs whilst providing a safe and well resourced learning environment for children with disabilities. We provide an education for pupils who are otherwise kept at home and uneducated because of their disability. Our aim is to enable these pupils to enter into an integrated mainstream education system by providing specialist care and equipment to aid their education and welfare.

SPE Special Educational Needs from Soft Power Education on Vimeo.

arthur sylive josephine

Our two dedicated staff members, Arthur (Occupational Therapist) and Sylive (Physiotherapist) and Josephine (SEN Teacher) work across four locations in Jinja District to bring these much needed services to children with disabilities and their families.

KCC new block July 2014 for websitejpg new therapy room for website

This colourful purpose built facility was opened in August 2014 and is the home of the SEN Programme. Located on the same site as Kyabirwa Children’s Centre, the SEN clinic offers a therapy room and SEN classroom.

Aisha and SaubaThe SEN team run four outreach clinics every week for the disabled children living in the rural villages of Jinja District. We offer occupational therapy (OT), physiotherapy (PT), education and personal and social development. Our team works alongside families and carers help them understand how to continue the work once their children return home. It is inspiring to see so much support from parents and carers and their enthusiasm for improving the quality of life for their disabled children.

In addition to the Kyabirwa clinic, we run further clinics in Bugembe and at Kyomya Primary School and  Walukuba West Primary School. Some children walk long distances to attend our clinics, highlighting just how much these services are needed. We have seen vast changes in community perceptions towards disability since the clinics began, with children with disabilities are being seen in a more positive light, mixing with their peers and being valued as people.

The clinics also serve as a means of assessing and referring children to hospitals or other NGOs or organisations for medication, surgery or specialist appliances and we provide a key service in being a bridge between families and other services. 2014 saw a new partnership with Transporting Uganda’s Sick Children (TUSC), who committed to providing our therapists with free transport to enable them to offer home visits to the families of children with more profound disabilities and to train parents to continue therapy and sensory activities themselves at home.

The SEN Project also supports two residential units, click on the links below to read more about these schools:

Specialised volunteers (SEN teachers, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists) have been integral in the development of this project and our staff. If you are interested in volunteering on this project, please email volunteering@softpowereducation.com.