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Gulu’s AfA Community Book Project

July 31, 2009

AfA Community Book shown to UgandansTogether with The Artfully AWARE Uganda Team and Programmes Director Emily Hatfield, I travelled to Gulu in northern Uganda in July of 2009. We met with staff at Karin Childrens Medical Centre and visited the community involved in the AfA Community Book Project.

We were fortunate to meet with both adults, who form the Community Book Committee, and the children at the after school club who are involved in producing the books. I was inspired by the enthusiasm of the staff at the centre and their ability to work with over 150 children every afternoon to enhance their learning, fitness and social kills. I was also moved to see how many people want to be involved in the creation of the books.

The community continues to show great initiative and creativity in making the books and developing the themes included. I saw the affect the books have on the lives of children at the centre. The books bring both adults and children of different ages and abilities together to create them, it enables the community to learn more about their own culture and traditions, and it gives them an insight into the lives of other children around the world.

Many of the children I spoke to cannot afford to go to school, and the ones who are lucky enough to attend are often faced with challenges within the school environment, such as lack of resources. These books allow the children to learn outside of mainstream education. I saw the potential to build an excellent relationship between our partner school in the UK called Brookfield and the community in Gulu. The Ugandans have begun to realise that people from the UK are interested in their way of life and want to support them.

I will cherish the memories of the children I met, the excitement they showed on our arrival and the warm welcome we received through their traditional songs, music and dancing. I will also remember the kindness which the people of Gulu showed to us all.

Sarah Evans, UK Marketing Manager

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