Kisoro Demonstration School
Arts and Crafts Project
This project aims to promote the spirit of self-reliance and improve motor co-ordination skills amongst deaf and blind children. It will also facilitate them earning a living in the future. SEDCU was approached about funding this project 7 years ago. Thanks to numerous generous donations the project has taken off and is going so well that it is now embedded in the curriculum for the whole school as well as providing an enjoyable and fulfilling activity after school and at the weekends for the children who board. Some of the products which are produced by the children are of a sufficient quality to sell, and the income this generates is being ploughed back into the project for purchase of materials. The children have also learned that some of the required materials can be found in the countryside so they are bringing them to school. Recent activity has included a focus on knitting jumpers which are part of the school uniform, and these have been sold to parents for their children. SEDCU helped here with funding of knitting machines and a part-time instructor. The children have also learned to crochet book bags and to recycle potato and cement bags into shopping bags.
We wish to provide continuity of support for the Arts and Crafts project. We have had ample evidence to show how valuable this project has become, especially for the deaf children, one of whom has built on her experience at KDS to progress to vocational college where she is currently completing a two year course on knitting and tailoring. The project has become partly self-sustaining through sales of knitted items, but there is still a need for financial input to provide a full range of educational opportunities. The cost of material, equipment and instructors is in the region of £1000 per year.
Recognising that there are still relatively few activities outside school hours which are suitable for the blind and visually impaired children, SEDCU agreed to fund the purchase of some musical instruments with a view to the possible establishment of a School Band to stimulate the musical talents of these children. It will be good for their leisure and entertainment and some might even be influenced to take this up as a vocation in later life. Most importantly it will help to improve their cognitive, social and psychological capabilities. SEDCU has funded the purchase of a number of instruments as well as amplifiers and loudspeakers so that they can mount concerts. We have also funded the employment of a part time music teacher.
On three occasions during the past few years SEDCU has made it possible for groups of children with disabilities, including those sponsored through SEDCU, to attend the annual Ugandan National Disability Sports Gala. This is organised by the Ugandan Paralympic Committee drawing competitors from across the country. The children from KDS, together with guides and teachers, have travelled long distances to the various venues where the events have been held. SEDCU has funded their transport, accommodation, subsistence costs and entry fees. The KDS pupils have performed outstandingly well and, on occasions, have come first overall – a testament to the determination of children and staff.
SEDCU wishes to continue to provide financial support for a team of disabled KDS pupils to participate in the National Disability Sports Gala in the future. We have received very positive reports from past events and we know that, without our support, the children will not be able to participate. Sending a team of (say) 10 children together with guides (for the blind children) and teachers (to support the deaf children) will cost in the region of £800.
Over the past four years SEDCU has also made it possible for a troupe of scouts, with a variety of disabilities, to participate in the annual National Scouting Jamboree. Each year they participated in the category of Junior Scouts with Special Needs and were triumphant. As a result, on two occasions they have represented their country at the East African Scouting Competitions which have been held in Kenya and in Uganda. On both occasions they gained first position out of five countries! SEDCU considers that the participation of children with disabilities in these events broadens their horizons and is living proof of the school that ‘disability is not inability’.
We are extremely keen to send a troop of scouts to the National Scouting Jamboree in the future. Should they win their class again (for deaf and for blind children) we would also wish (if affordable) for them to be able to accept the invitation to the East African Competition, an amazing opportunity to represent their country. We have had very detailed and positive reports from previous events. 12 children participating in a scouting jamboree would be in the region of £1000.
We have funded both years of a two year in-service course for one of the teachers at KDS to acquire a degree in Special Needs Education. This cost in the region of £600 per year. There may be requests for funding other teachers to pursue similar qualifications.