Learning New Skills

Get (Basket) Weaving:

Since the first holiday Skills Club last year was hailed a huge success, and enjoyed by so many, the kids and staff at Uphill asked for another one to be arranged. As the last two weeks of the big school holiday always drag, and with few opportunities for the local children of something to do, there was a huge turnout for the second opportunity to learn new skills which took place at the end of January. Lots of the P3 – P7 youngsters were involved, as were many of the staff.

A Skills Club session was part of an extra school day – with some teaching at the start – and one that the kids had volunteered for. Two weeks’ worth. Imagine that!

Under the expert tuition of several local ladies, and our Director’s wife Shalot, they made colourful woven shopping baskets, paper beads and bracelets, woven table mats, liquid soap, and even shoes!

Uphill Skills Club

We had the fun of joining them for the second week of the workshops, and were students ourselves learning how to make the baskets. We had excellent personal help from some of the kids who sat beside us – keeping a very close eye on our efforts while sorting out our mistakes.

The rooms were full of quietly chatting, industrious folk. There were tired fingers all round by the end of the day.

Uphill Skills Club

The comment from our Director was that the hands-on craft sessions were the highlight of these days, and the kids couldn’t wait to get to that time. He also said that their creativity was amazing, and their work great to watch. 

At the start of the sessions the kids were taught some of the basics of business practice so they understood the ideas of costs, quality, and profit behind any possible venture. Entrepreneurial skills are very necessary in Uganda, especially as many may never have the chance to go on to, or complete, their full secondary education. Those in that situation will depend on practical skills rather than academic qualifications for their future income.

They held a market in the local trading centre at the end of the fortnight, and were able to sell their goods to local people. They also set up a stall making very tasty Ugandan doughnuts that day as well – yum!

All the money raised is to go back to the school to benefit the children involved. Amongst other things, it will buy maths sets for classroom use.

Uphill Skills Club

The Holiday Skills Club came to the attention of local radio reporters who visited to see for themselves what was happening. They were very impressed and planned some radio time to talk about the idea. So nice to think that Uphill Junior School might be able to encourage other schools to do the same. 

Needless to say, many of the baskets made at the club came back to Scotland in our cases for us to sell at our craft fairs and other events.  Contact us if you would like to buy one!


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