My name is Nabirye Tabitha; I have been a social work volunteer at S.A.L.V.E. International for three months now, after volunteering on the Manchester University partnership project last year.
I love working with children, although my previous perception of street connected children was not all that good. I couldn’t imagine these children ever being friendly to the people they don’t stay with on the street! Volunteering with them has shown me that was wrong, that they can accept me as an aunty to them.
Changing My Own Perception
I have been constantly involving the children in a number of activities that take place at the drop in centre; these include playing indoor games, counselling, washing, educative lessons, information sharing, sports and watching S.A.L.V.E.’s Resilience movie among others. All these activities aim at positive change; making this child see a positive future.These children are so friendly and sometimes they even want to share with me the little food they get to show me their love.
I particularly liked the moment when I taught them about Resilience and we watched the Resilience movie together; the movie was acted by some of their fellow street connected children in Jinja district showing life on the street and the coping strategies to overcome challenging situations and grow stronger. It really inspired them to think about their coping strategies in life.
No Situation is Permanent
Resilience is being adaptive, flexible and optimistic when facing difficult times. The movie helps them to be able to reflect, plan for their lives, be mindful of their behavior and be focused towards what is important to them.
After watching the movie, I asked them to mention four things they have learned from the movie. The children always challenge me in our lessons because they all give so many answers that I have nothing left to say. This time they challenged me by explaining in depth the aspects of resilience, bringing out the idea of not giving up.
This really motivates me as I am teaching because even in the movie, we see one boy who has been on the street but never gave up and later on succeeded. Two of the children asked me what what I have learnt from the movie. The challenge is, I should not mention anything they have already talked about. Something that motivates and excites them because you see them very happy whenever I am responding. Sometimes I try to see if they are attentive and repeat one of the points they have mentioned already but you hear them saying “Aaaaaaaaaa’” meaning No!!!!
I love this as it keeps them active and lively in class. Hence our learning together really inspires me so much because through this movie I have seen a tremendous change in some of their character. It shows the power of positive peer influence and using different medias.
This resilience lesson is very important as it equips the children with self knowledge in their ability to stand strong in challenging situations and respond to them positively in order to thrive.