UGANDA YOUTH INVESTMENT PROGRAMME - MY VISIT FEB 2014 (Myrna Leech)
It was a privilege and great joy to stay overnight on 2 separate occasions with the students (16-18 year olds) and the Brown family in Kampala. I was introduced as 'Myrna from St Mary's Burwell church - they sent money to help with the conversion for you to live here' and Judith Goddard as' the lady whose house this is and lets us rent it'. It was amazing to see how much our money achieved towards the conversion to accommodate this big 'family'! During the evening I enjoyed talking to the students in their bedrooms. Some asked "Why would your church send money for us?" They were also surprised when I said I would tell you more about them and were obviously pleased to have our interest.
Would you eat the same food each day?
Both evenings we shared an evening meal with everyone, maize and bean soup. Their food is basic - as Steve said "Posho and beans, rice and beans, Katago (beans and casava), MEAT on a Saturday evening otherwise it's BEANS". Two students serve everyone from 2 huge pots and it is filling and adequate. The Browns, including their 3 children, eat exactly the same food with them. Breakfast is cereals and Kathryn makes bread to augment the budget.
PURPOSE OF THE INVESTMENT YOUTH PROGRAMME
The Browns' focus is on enabling the students to acquire basic life skills ready for work and life in the 'outside world'. They come from orphanages and this is essential experience of becoming more independent, eg managing time - getting ready and being punctual for their placements; informing placements of absence - "no excuses eg rain" (many of them walk a long way!); creating a good impression by being willing to do whatever is asked; budget training; communication skills (discussion, negotiation)- the list is long and it was fascinating to hear how kindly but firmly this is all encouraged and instilled, individually or in groups. There are such different personalities and needs. All of this is backed by Christian values through teaching, reading, discussion eg making choices.
Examples of their placements are at a dentist's, doctor's, garage, Blood Bank, workshops, teaching, hospital, construction
I also met previous IYP students, Immaculate and Kasule, who now assist the Browns. Kasule has a Diploma in legal studies and has an internship at a legal firm working with prisoners' human rights cases (many now unjustifiably in prison as no-one to help) - this is his career ambition and shows how the IY programme helps.
REFLECTIONS ON MY VISITS
By our second visit students were more settled, getting on together and discussions were lively; I loved hearing activity all over the house and outside in the evenings (even early in the morning as some have left before 7 am). Since my visits I've been left with many thoughts and prayer needs.
WILL YOU PRAY FOR
- The students' success at work and when they return to their studies - that this experience will equip them for the future, including the Christian guidance received.
- Steve and Kathryn Brown and their dedicated commitment to this valuable programme.
- Their children Joel, Anya and Silas living alongside the students in this bustling family environment - that they also may have the care and attention that they need from their parents.
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