Experiences of Amatelaz
It was such a joy to visit Amatelaz Homework Centre and experience the enthusiasm and passion of the 37 children that regularly attend.
I was treated to a beautiful welcome and well planned presentation of poems, speeches and songs.
The children were asked to write down their experience and benefits of attending the Homework Centre. Sarah wrote “I have been promoted from class 3 to class 1 because I am having help from Amatelaz.” She went on to say “My mother is really amazed by my behaviour since I have met new good friends and deleted all the bad friends”.
Many of the children echoed the same points. They are grateful for the free investment in their education and the library, text books, food at lunch and the care and focus of the staff were repeatedly mentioned. The team also focus on building the confidence of the children through public speaking and debating and this was highlighted in many of the responses. Improvement in both written and spoken English was another critical and important point they mentioned.
I had a good chat with Jacob who showed me the attendance register as well as a file with a copy of the children’s parents death certificates. The reason for this is to ensure that children we are helping are actually orphans. It was a sobering moment to be honest. To see the impact HIV has had on so many children and how this impact changes as the children get older is something that everyone is trying to understand and adapt to. Geoff Foster, a highly regarded pediatrician, told me that many young mothers are coming to the hospital with malnourished children. This is because without the input of their parents the natural transfer of parenting has not taken place. HIV has wiped out a generation and disrupted a strong communal culture. Our aim is to not only help our children with their academic studies but also impart critical life skills to help set them up for adulthood.
I am so proud of June, Jacob, Brighton, Sue, Oni, Wendy and Crispen who are making such an impact in the lives of these children, not only educationally and vocationally but in character and attitude.