A Tale of Two Centres
Elspeth Dugdale | July 1, 2018
'A child who reads becomes an adult who thinks' ... the pivotal quotation used by Jody in her Read for Life talk at the Opening Ceremony for the Connect Centre in Gulu last month.
Of course, it was really heartening to hear a similar, repeated theme within the messages from all the speakers (all 13 in total!) that afternoon: to recognise and appreciate the value of reading, there is great potential for change through education, to appreciate the access to books and the unique effect of a childrens' library, and to see the opportunity of the CEC within the community. Guest speakers included local education, local politicians, community leaders and from Catholic church, which owns the land, and finally also from CEC and Read for Life. There was also an impromptu and enthusiastic word of support from a local parent.
After the ribbon-cutting, the prayers and the cutting of the cakes (plural!), there was an explosion of celebration, jubilation, dancing and excitement. Thanks to the great preparation of the CEC team, there was easily enough sodas and cake for everyone.
Another significant milestone in the last busy month was the successful first holiday programme, where community children had open access to the library each mornings and an exciting range of clubs and activities to sign up for each afternoon. Already, on some days, the new centre can seem a little small........
Further south, despite being physically smaller, Connect Centre Lukomera continues to grow in stature. Since its April 'makeover', Deborah and team are making plans to relaunch and reintroduce the centre within the community. Affectionately nicknamed 'Mama Connect' (being the original centre) by Melissa, there are also plans for the Lukomera teachers to visit Gulu and work alongside the Connect teachers there. During a recent visit, Melissa spent a very full day sharing ideas on making classroom resources with Deborah and team, which was very inspiring and well received. Taking advantage of the wide network and pioneering influence amongst the schools in the community, Jody will visit later in July to lead a three day 'Fun of Phonics' workshop, to help the teachers refocus on phonics as the key base for successfully teaching children to read. Exciting progress and exciting times ahead!