A HOPE THAT SPRUNG FORTH FROM ONE THROUGH A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE OTHER.

My name is Kawuki Micheal, 40years old and a teacher at Luigi Giussani High School (LGHS) since 2010. I was asked to become the deputy headteacher that same year of 2010 and in 2014 I became the headteacher. Being a teacher here made me discover who I am and the meaning of work. I came to realize that I am not simply Kawuki but behind this face, there is Someone greater and this is what makes me who I am, for this I am able to look at my students beyond the subjects I teach them, to look at them as human beings who desire to be happy and loved like me. We are all the same with the same needs but the only difference is that I am an adult in front of them.

Last year, in 2020 March when the lockdown was imposed and it was said that schools should close for twenty-one days, both the teachers and students were happy because we thought it was going to be an opportunity to have a small vacation. But those three weeks turned out to be dark because of the uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus. After those three weeks, the same amount of time for the lockdown was added as well. People were losing their jobs, the living conditions at home worsened, more people were dying around the world and for students, hopes of schools being opened was minimal. One day, Seve (educational advisor at LGHS) called proposing a meeting with the Headteacher’s council (HTC) that is composed of five members.  Public transport was closed so we used to have these meetings through google meet. It was through these meetings that we got hope to see the faces of one another. I realised that it is not easy to come out of a dark moment without the other, I remain rotating around it.  But with someone else, he/ she can help me point in the direction where the light is. For us, this person was Seve, we followed him, without following, I am very limited.  Through these HTC meetings, we decided to reach all the teachers asking them to prepare self-s

tudy materials. By April, all teachers were available to make the materials ready not simply to make the students busy but to enable them to learn even from home.  We started giving out this work in May. Transport was paralysed at that moment so some of the places had become far especially Naguru. But for me, the distance didn’t matter, what mattered were the students who had spent months without studying. I accepted that what I was doing was no longer simply a job that earned me money but a vocation, I realised it was my call to help these young people, to bring out who exactly they are. After some months of giving out the materials, we realised that we need to see the faces of our students and to find out how they are doing. We were worried about the boys and girls but especially the girls who were at a high risk of getting pregnant. They were also tired of getting the work and they were losing hope. As the HTC team, we decided to go to the homes of each one of them. They were very happy to see us. Through our faces, they regained hope. Them looking at our faces, that gaze that loved them was an opportunity for them to come back to themselves but also for us to come back to ourselves. We wanted them to know that they are not alone though they were not coming to school, that we were thinking about them and everything we were doing was for them though also for us. The environment where the students live is not very conducive, they can easily be cheated or confused by some people in it. But with our encounter with them, they managed to live through what they faced with hope. The school has now started for some classes and we are glad that we haven’t gotten any cases of pregnancies. We are also happy that for the classes at school, almost all of them are back which is an achievement for us considering the high levels of drop outs country wide. When the students got back, we could vividly tell that they were scared because of the impacts of the virus and the life that had changed. The senior fours had to do exams in four months’ time and yet they had a lot to do. They were not used to waking up early in the morning anymore. It would be useless to ask them where we stopped with the learning ten months ago. With the fear they had, they were not going to be able to learn anything. The first thing we did was to start by having dialogues with them about life, how they faced COVID-19 and the lockdown and the experiences they have had. We provoked them to ask questions about life. For us, this was a starting point to help them adapt to the system of school they had not been in for many months. With the information, we were getting from them was one way to know where to start from, how to help them start because they were not the same anymore. The important thing was to listen to them and help them start. There is a big difference between education and teaching. Teaching is within education. In education, I handle the whole person, am not going to give my own idea to the student but am going to try to bring out what is within the student. You have to be fully involved and listen. If I instead go to teach, I leave out the biggest aspect of the student. The teachers were supposed to be ready to face the students. We were not idle during the lockdown period, we were having training and workshops which kept us refreshed. If we were not ready, it means we were not going to be able to handle the students.

For me, this lockdown period taught me that in following, you make no mistake. Follow a person who has that gaze, who already realised this gaze. Most importantly, we don’t give hope but looking at particular faces, hope comes back again.

Compiled by Adoch Mary Clare

21/03/2021

A HEAD TEACHER’S PASSION

A school head teacher’s passion to reach learners with self-study materials is bringing hope and encouragement to the students in his school. #Mr#Michael Kawuki wants to ensure that his students don’t lose the rhythm of schooling.

He gets on his motorcycle by 7:00 am each day, with the carrier loaded with learning materials and a list of students and their home addresses ready to deliver their materials.

We asked Michael how he feels about COVID-19 and he said “Of course I am concerned about the pandemic; my students need to keep busy so that they know that we think about their future.” Michael does all this because he loves his profession – he calls it a vocation.

The past weeks have been busy for Michael as he coordinates his teachers to compile lessons for students and gets on his daily routine with the distribution journey so that he’ back home before the curfew. One thousand learners Luigi Giussani high school in Kampala are supported by AVSI in the Distance Support Program.

AVSI is proud of committed teachers like Michael and several others in the schools we support and elsewhere because we know that this is one of the ways we will continue to ensure #quality #education for learners. Meeting Point International

 

Pay Attention to the Instant, To the Now-Aloyo Gladys

When Gladys came back to Uganda, I caught up with her and she told me her experience being in Rimini, Italy for the first time, for the event “The forces that move history are the same that make man happy”  by Okello Marvin

From the time that I got to understand the movement and the charism of Fr. Giussani through the friends that had encountered him, the one and undying desire of my heart was to reach his grave. I didn’t know when, but certainly I knew I would reach him one day and pour out my heart to him at the foot of his grave.

Hardly had I known that Christ had already prepared everything for me. He looked at my heart and was granting me my desire. Hardly had I known that I was going to go to Italy this year in August. Everything happened when I least expected. Being invited to Rimini Fiera was a sign to me that despite my nothingness. Christ is always choosing and preferring me. Even though I am not worthy of anything as big as this, he has, He has made me worthy by making me now and loving me the way I am. It is something that makes me marvel up to now, at the mysteriousness of God.

Before going to Rimini (Italy), my prayer was that Christ helps me to understand why he has chosen me for the days ahead, and also help me not to lose myself in fear or uncertainty (since I was going completely to a new environment and for the first time) and that he stays with me. Things were a bit difficult at the airports and at certain moments I was so scared. In those moments of getting scared, I could hear the voice of Aunt Rose (Rose Busingye), she had told me once, that I should always pay attention to what is happening at the instant, because the instant you miss everything.

For me this voice was like a waking call to me. And immediately I remembered this I could wake up and look at things around me. And all the things before me communicated one thing to me, “I am with you” Everything that was happening to me was because somebody was making me them and making them for me. So everything I looked at gave me Christ back and this was my certainty because I know that Christ is with me, he is communicating himself to me, He wants me to understand him more.

On arrival to Italy, Teddy and I were taken to the grave of Fr. Giussani. We spent close to 15 minutes and I knelt before Fr. Giussani, I was very emotional that I even failed to say a word. I looked deep into the eyes his eyes, in his portrait. He was looking at me. To me, it seemed as if he was calling me to follow him. I could see and understand whom I am. Because his face looked like that of a beggar, one in need of something. This is what I am, a beggar, who without an “Other” cannot live. I need a “You” in order to live every instant of my life. Fr. Giussani wrote that the real protagonist of history is the beggar, man’s heart that begs for Christ and Christ’s heart that begs for man.

And Fr. Giussani, in his eyes was telling me that I need to be a beggar in order to understand the days that I was to spend at Rimini and thereafter. So I started the days of Rimini with Fr. Giussani’s face in my eyes and heart and Christ with me, so I managed to live those days with a begging and curiosity. How I wish I had the words to describe every moment I was there. It was so beautiful. A beauty, that even now nothing can erase it away.

I met so many people at the tent of AVSI (where I was staying during the day). I met friends that I had been with in Uganda. I also made new friends. Their faces made me feel one with them and at home. They were so free to me and open with me. Through them I realized that I need this simplicity of a child in order to understand everything. Because a child has a simple heart, open, yet curious to know and understand. This is also what I need in order to face myself and everything.

For example, a certain lady came to the tent of AVSI and she had seen me in a video. She immediately began telling me about herself and how the movement helped her to be who she is now. This openness is only possible when one has the simplicity of a child.

I attended the encounter of Fr. Carron on Job. And from Professor Marro’s words and also from the experience of a sick doctor, I think I understand more about human suffering. Fr. Carron explained ways in which man suffers. He said that sometimes man suffers because of his freedom, and that he does something that hurts himself. Then he also said that sometimes man suffers because of things beyond his control, for example natural calamities or even Job who suffers innocently. Fr. Carron was asking, “But why does God keep quiet in front of human suffering? Why doesn’t he intervene?” He answered himself by saying that, if God intervenes, or takes away the suffering of man, He would have taken away the freedom of man. God wants man to face everything freely. Even so no answer is enough to take away human problem. “But does this mean that God has left us?” Says Fr. Carron, “in front of suffering, he offers to us his powerful presence. And this is only possible if we are in a relationship with Him.

Like the “why” of Job was because he was familiar with God. Fr. Carron also said that God didn’t answer the cries of Job (He instead asked Job questions) but he gave his son Jesus Christ as the best answer to the sufferings of man. Only the awareness of his presence enables man to face human problem differently. A poet said that (Imitating Job), “You have given me all possible reasons to leave You but I won’t, I am only asking why?”

All these words were for me. And even as am back to Uganda, I have everything I need to live those days even here. I don’t want to forget anything. Those days are helping me to live now even more certain and in a meaningful way.

I thank God for this friendship, this belonging that he has given me and He is using it to bring me closer to Him. It is here that I want to stay all the days of my life. I won’t let go because he doesn’t let go.

 

 

CHILD PROTECTION TRAINING HELD AT MEETING POINT INTERNATIONAL.

LGIHE-Logo-08MPI had the child protection training with all the staff in order to develop its own Child Protection Policy. Before the training, the Director of MPI Rose Busingye Shared MPI’s approach to child protection policy.

“We can learn rules but we know very well that behind these rules there is somebody, a Name, a human person. If behind Child Protection there is a child, then you find that it is interesting otherwise it becomes usual skims or things to do.  Like in schools these days, children study for passing exams, not for development. If things have meaning, then I have to put or do anything in order to learn all the ways to do them. It’s not the government to tell me to do things but why should I do it.”

Rose Busingye.

The training was conducted by Mauro Giacomazzi of LUIGI GIUSSANI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

 

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8/05/2017

AN INTERVIEW OF THE STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE IN THE HOLIDAYS IN RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR LIFE IN SCHOOL.

My name is Gashumba Emmanuel. I am a Social Worker of Meeting Point International, following up children in the Distance Support Program Office (DSP) both at home and school to understand their social wellbeing, behavior and characteristics such that they are helped to discover their greatest need, desires and value. I attended my high school from Luigi Giussani High School, completed senior six and right now am studying at Makerere Institute for Social Development doing a course in Social Working and Social Administration and at the same time working at Meeting Point International as a Social Worker.

Meeting Point International (M.P.I) supports over 1700 children in their education and most of the children under support belong to the women of M.P.I. When the women of M.P.I, through their encounter with Aunt Rose discovered their true value, they wished that their children also discover the same value that they had discovered, everything they touched acquired a meaning and become present for them and so they wanted their children to also feel this total Joy and happiness that prevailed within their hearts. What struck me most and keeps on moving me every day is the great charism that the women exhibited through the selling of various paper beads made from recycled papers and provision of strenuous manual labor in the setting up of  a beautiful school for their children called Luigi High School and the Primary school called Luigi Giussani Pre-Primary school. Most of their children study in this two schools and they wish that their children can discover who they are, the love that their mothers have for them and God their creator through a beauty that is in front of them. Some other children, study in various schools surrounding Kampala and among these  schools we have; St. Jude nursery and Primary schools, Mivule schools, Nagalama secondary school, St. Kizito schools and many other schools to mention but a few.

Children have been in schools, a few months back and they were in their third term of the year, meaning a term that is supposed to determine their promotion to the next class; some have been candidates like the senior fours, senior six and primary seven. They have all been working very hard, reading day and night, consulting teachers in order to acquire good results that would enable them to move to the next level of education. At the end of the day, those who worked hard acquired good results and were promoted to next classes. For the candidate classes, they are still waiting for their National Exams to be released by the Uganda National Examination Board (U.N.E.B).

Most of our children are now in their holidays at home helping their parents in various domestic works like mopping the houses, rolling of paper beads, working in the stone quarry with their parents, selling charcoal with them, cleaningutensils and many other types of work.

Most of the homes of these children are located in the suburbs of Kampala City especially in Naguru and Kireka. Since this is, the longest holiday within the whole year, I Gashumba Emmanuel a social worker of Meeting Point International decided to carry out an interview on one of the students of Luigi Giussani High School called Namaganda Brenda who shared with me her experience at school and home. She said that “when the term is ending and am going for holidays I feel very happy, good and I feel like jumping to the sky because in the holidays, I become stress free from the books and exams. It’s the time I interact with all my family members with ample time and no interference at all. However with time, I become bored and start missing my school again. When she told me this, I posed a question to her [why do you get bored at home and after you start missing your school again? She replied to me saying that it’s because most of my friends are found at school than at home. At school, am more free and I express my self freely because am with my age mates and she added on saying I also miss my teachers at school, the good food, the good structures of my school and various school activities that take place at school like the Music, dance and drama, sports and many other school activities that keep me busy, happy and active. 

I replied to her, wow it’s a beautiful experience because, it reminds me of my school days in high school where by, when the time for holidays was approaching, I used to fill very excited because the pressure for reading books would reduce and that’s the time I would Participate more in various co-curricular activities like playing basket ball and football. I would also get excited to have much time with my family members but after a few weeks at home I would also again desire to go back at school to study and interact with my colleagues. Basing on this interview, I came up with a conclusion that most of the students when they are getting their holidays, they are very excited but when they reach at their homes, they get fade up of the life at home and they again desire to go back to their schools and even when they are at school, they feel like getting holidays. This is really so striking, hahaha oh oh oh…….

 

Namaganda Brenda

2/01/2016