Last fall I started using the term HOLISTIC LITERACY to try to describe what our Namuwongo Skills for Life program is about. It’s probably a little different for a teen girl living in the slum than it would be for someone in a developed country, so I want to explain both the what and the why.
Many of the girls in our residential and Skills for Life programs have never been to school. Of course, that means no reading, writing, and arithmetic, but in Uganda that also means no English.
Why? English is, after all, Uganda’s official language.
But there are 60+ tribal languages spoken in Uganda. The Namuwongo slum is like every other slum — a mix of displaced and desperate people who come to Kampala to try to have a better life. People tend to spend time with those of their own tribe and language. They do not speak English.
English is learned in school. In fact, it is actually illegal for schools to teach the tribal languages. They speak, read, and write in English.
BOTTOM LINE —> No school = no English
But there’s more to literacy (for us, at least!) than the three Rs and English. We add a meaningful vocational skill so girls have a lifetime of income potential.
If needed for immediate survival, we teach a smaller skill that can start bringing in some money right away.
We conduct health and hygiene workshops so girls — and boys — can physically take care of themselves.
We are adding a computer lab in 2022 to bring digital literacy and enable routine things like national ID card updates and job applications to be done by the girls themselves.
And we will begin using Neema Development’s Entrepreneur training this spring to bring basic business literacy to the girls.
If you read through that list again, these are things that you probably already know. You may not have been taught them, per se, but you picked it up along the way. You already live in a world of holistic literacy, and you use these skills every single day.
We believe the teen girls and teen moms in our program deserve that opportunity as well. They are smart, motivated, and hard-working, and they know the alternative. They are choosing a better life and doing what’s required every day!
THANK YOU for partnering with us as well change lives AND change the culture. If you want to make a donation, click the button – 100% goes to the programs!