The last week with S.A.L.V.E. teams and children was full of preparations to make sure that the work we have done together draws to a successful end. From seeds packs to a walk map and from library labels to feminist literature – nothing was off the table.
The Drop In Centre decoration mission has drawn to a finale with children making their own string art – we had prepared the wood panels with the designs this time as we were working indoors. There are now butterflies, hearts, flowers and geometric patterns hanging on the walls of the classroom. The paper chains worked here too and they complement other children’s arty pieces.
Final Preparations for the Training Day
I spent some hours with music and balls of string to ensure everyone has a few meters to take home. The seeds packs were my top achievement of perseverance – to prepare 15 packs of 7 different seeds in individual handmade paper bags takes longer than you would think! But the sight of them all completed was well worth it.
On the day, 13 people came to join us for the session which was a really good turn out. We had breakfast and started to share the inspirational stories straight after. The bottle planter session followed – several varieties of the hanging planters were introduced. Lunch was delicious and as big as a Ugandan lunch can get. The afternoon allowed for more business ideas to be explored and then for another practical demonstration – sack mount and jerry cans. Everyone took part! And after learning about different types of seeds everyone went home with a starter pack so that they can try and make it work for themselves and their families. I can’t wait to hear the feedback and see the photos later on.
I knew that Monday and Tuesday the following week would be my last two days and I wanted to do some really fun activities with everyone – and this is where the card cars came in after parking the idea for a little while. Moreover, the mindful walk map needed finishing too alongside promised labels for a re-shuffled library. Local printers were very excited to see me more than a couple of times this week with all of my requests for ‘this 5 times in colour’ and ‘this 22 times just black and white’.
I wanted to make sure that apart from having fun together with paper planes and cars from card there would also be something additional I can leave behind for the staff to make use of, not just for the children but also for themselves. The mindful walk is one of the elements – I also shared other resources about mindfulness (from books to fidget spinners) and we talked together about the importance of self-care in the roles they have. We spent some time considering the things which help us to stay resilient. Finally, I gave all 22 staff members a copy of a short feminist book I to read in and amongst seed packing and laminating (it is an adapted TED Talk from Chimamanda Adichie – very brief, very accessible and very timely).
Finally, another unmissable point of the week was the Inequality Question session on Thursday afternoon – this month we were talking with the world about differences between vocational and academic education. It was a lively debate with people from all over the globe sharing their thoughts – including children who come to the drop in. What a way to get street connected children’s voices heard! Have a look at the website to see what the thoughts were and consider joining next moth’s too!