Feature: Teacher in Ugandan capital volunteers to teach children in local community amid COVID-19 lockdown

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 21, 2020
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KAMPALA, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Julie Namanda, a kindergarten teacher based in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, is seeking to inspire her colleagues to go out in local communities to teach children already behind on their school time.

In Lubaga Division, a suburb of Kampala, a group of about 10 children of different ages gathered behind a house for lessons.

Seated on three benches, the children listened carefully as Namanda used a stick to point at the different objects drawn on an old blackboard.

The objects drawn on the blackboard included nails, stones, safety pins, knives and a snake.

Amid the lockdown, "the only thing they would do every day was to play from dusk to dawn. As a teacher, I realized I could do something to keep the little angels busy during the morning hours," Namanda told Xinhua in a recent interview.

She said the teaching materials, including the blackboard and the benches, were provided by the neighbors or local businesses.

Schools have been closed for some three months in Uganda as part of the restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

At first, it was challenging to teach children of different age groups, said Namanda, who has been teaching at an international school in the nearby district named Wakiso.

"But I have found a way to simplify the lessons for the younger children," she said, adding if the younger ones cannot write the words, they can draw the objects and learn the pronunciations.

"The other advantage is that I am able to show them the objects physically from the surrounding environment," Namanda said.

She reminds the children on a daily basis of how the spread of COVID-19 can be prevented.

Namanda advised other teachers to start helping children in their own communities.

"Sometimes it is not just about earning a salary but loving the profession. They do not need to wait for the end of lockdown before they start imparting knowledge to children," she said.

She noted that children forget so fast and the best way to keep them being informed is to look for someone to educate them at home.

Sean Julian Kewber, six, is grateful to Namanda for what he has learnt during the lockdown period.

"I have learnt about dangerous objects which I should avoid. I have also learnt some sounds made by different animals as well as writing some sentences in English," Kewber said.

Brenda Ssebalamu, a mother of two children who are benefitting from Namanda's classes, said learning has kept the children busy.

"Previously, they used to walk around in the neighbourhood without doing anything serious," Ssebalamu said. "But now I'm very sure they are learning something new." Enditem

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