Circle time is a program where we gather children in sessions to share their joys but also their challenges in life. You see, the children i.HUG serve come from impoverished, extremely difficult backgrounds. Without support and guidance, many of these children would otherwise drop out of school.
We introduced Circle time at one of our partner schools, Global Nursery and Primary School. The program ran from 08 September and ended on 30 November, where children have been attended to in Circle time every week, but those with exceptional problems have been offered more time.
This was the first time we offered Circle time at a partner school and it affirms to us one thing: Children need to be talked to and cared for if they are to succeed in school, and at life.
Some of our observations:
- Circle time has helped children to share and be to open to each other, improving their self expression. We clearly saw this when most of the i.HUG sponsored children were the key participants in their Open Day presentations in drama, music, poems, news reading, etc.
- Some of the children’s parents face a lot of stress, so they end up being ignored. But as they share and are guided by their fellow children and teachers, they have another avenue to learn how to overcome challenges. We ask children to come up with ideas of how they can help those who need their help in their capacity as children.
- Communication skills have improved among children and their caretakers. This comes as a result of continuous sharing and encouragement. When children speak their free mind, we understand them better. This helps us talk to their teachers and parents and together, find solutions to help a child overcome their challenges.
Circle time has improved academic performance and life skills, and made the children happier. Parents and guardians remark that they didn’t know what their children were capable of. Parents have made comments like “I never thought that my child could make friends,” and ‘’I am surprised that this boy is now so active.” Another said, “My child had to be forced to go to school, but since she entered the i.HUG program she is the one who wakes us up to take her to school.” Another was impressed with high remarks from his child, as he previously had been termed ‘dense.’
The staff on the ground in Uganda say this has been their honor to do this work. In a number of Circle Time sessions, children have told them, “Today I am happy because you have come at school.” They see the session as loving action to them.
We have a big dream that these children can achieve so much the more we continue with the support, and make their and their parents dreams come true.