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Community Education Update

January 25, 2009

September 2008

The concept of the Community Book Scheme is that pupils from a secondary school in Chesterfield, England would create a book composed of images from their day to day lives – sharing information about themselves, their culture and traditions, with the hope that children in Uganda would send a similar book in return. I began this project at Brookfield Community School, a secondary school and specialist sports college, where I am a teaching assistant with 11-16 year old pupils of all abilities.

Fiona Middis, Artfully AWARE Art Consultant, began a similar project at her school in Newcastle. Kristy Algar, also an Artfully AWARE Art Consultant, started a project at the Special Needs Centre where she works in Wales. Our team arrived in Uganda with three Community Books ready to share.

Upon arriving in Uganda our idea grew more than we had ever imagined. The responses from schools and community centres with whom we met were beyond enthusiastic. Whilst visiting the Karin Children’s Medical Centre in Gulu, our Community Book Scheme quickly broke down barriers with the locals and created a close link between them and the Artfully AWARE team. Whilst exploring ideas in Gulu it became apparent that there were no limits to what could be shared within these books, and the Artfully AWARE team returned with an abundance of photos, drawings, written pieces and information about the Acholi culture to share with the pupils at the schools and centres in the UK. The inclusion of art in the books such as photographs and the children’s own drawings fostered direct communication between the children, despite language barriers, and made the whole experience much more visual, and as a result, much more personal.

Upon returning from Uganda I met with the head teacher at my school with the hope of expanding the Community Book Scheme throughout the entire school to enable as many pupils as possible to be a part of the project. I will present at the middle leaders meeting at the start of term in September to request the support of heads of year and heads of subject for our project.

The long-term goal for the Community Book Scheme is to have a new book
sent back and forth every three to four months with the hope that these
books will correspond with a topic from one of the classes so the children
are directly sharing what they learn in school, and that different children will have an opportunity to participate. Artfully AWARE’s vision is that this will lead to a library of Community Books in each location and eventually an exhibition of every book.

We are all very excited about this new scheme and believe it is a wonderfully personal and direct way for the children and members of different societies and cultures to exchange information. We would like to
thank the Karin Children’s Medical Centre for their enthusiasm and vast contribution to the initial stages of this scheme.

Evonne Hll
School Education Director

Kwapa Community reviewing a UK Community Book

Kwapa Community reviewing a UK Community Book

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