International Children's Day - From Uganda to Cologne
Every year on 1 June, children and specifically children's rights are celebrated around the world. On this occasion, we would like to introduce you to a volunteer from the South-North programme: Joseline from Uganda decided to do her volunteer service with In Via in a school in Germany and shares some of her experiences with us.
“It's such a great pleasure for me to volunteer in a school. I am interested in the differences between the education system in Uganda and the one in Germany, specifically the handling of children in terms of social, emotional and psychological capabilities”, she explains.
Getting to know another culture
During her volunteer service, she worked in a group with children aged 6 to 7 and engaged in several activities. Besides preparing fruits and snacks for the breaks, she enjoyed helping children with their homework, accompanying them to after school clubs or doing handicrafts with them.
One thing Joseline particularly enjoyed was sharing insights about her home country with the children. „I tell them traditional stories from my country which they really enjoy and are eager to know more about.“ Moreover, she was pleased to be able to teach the children some songs in Luganda, which is one of the main languages spoken in Uganda, and introduced them to some arts that are typical for her home country.
“I was given the opportunity to teach some children how to make simple African crafts such as necklaces and armbands. Seeing the happiness on these children’s faces after having learned something new is really satisfying.”
Looking back…and forward
During her stay in Germany, Joseline discovered a couple of differences in the education systems of Germany and Uganda: „For example, while the education system in Germany is very structured and oriented towards the interest of the students, the one in Uganda is more result-oriented and expensive, thus not every child has got the chance to study.”
“I learned that in Germany education is free meaning that every child has a right to education and information.”
Joseline learned many techniques and activities in terms of handling children in various circumstances, especially during the Covid-19 crisis when one is required to be stricter in order to prevent the spread of the infection.
“I have been equipped with new skills and techniques that are going to aid me in my career as a teacher.”
Living in a foreign country, Joseline eventually encountered some challenges, particularly during the pandemic: „The good times of my social year were comprised with the treasurable moments I had with the children and colleagues in my project as I shared insights with them about my country and my culture - and learned from them too. I however experienced a number of challenges like the language barrier, weather changes, falling sick as well as missing my family and friends back home.“