This post is from Katharine Wright who has been serving with us in Uganda for the past 7 months assisting our counseling staff as they expand their services and provide more comprehensive care to the children we serve.
“When I started working for 60 Feet 7 months ago, it was days like last Friday that I hoped to see. Friday was a day of celebration! Some days working here are hard, and progress is slow, but the hard days are necessary for us to learn and for the good days to be even more amazing. On Friday the hard work paid off as we celebrated not one, but two graduations of counseling classes at M1.
As a counseling team we believe that one of our purposes is to create a safe space for children to share. We want to build good relationships and let the children know they are individuals, that they matter that they are not just a number or a problem that needs to be ‘fixed. Along the way we want to equip them for the future and we do this by providing education sessions to develop life skills.
Over the last month Bibian has been working with a small group of students to tackle issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and teach more about this topic to increase awareness whilst addressing common misconceptions. Three centres have now received this teaching and it has proven to be very valuable. Our medical team provides HIV testing and our counseling staff are on hand to help deliver results and provide extra support for any who need it.
Alongside this, Tomson was teaching our Resettlement counseling curriculum. This begins a month before a child is due to go home from the facility. The lessons cover basic life skills from anger management & career guidance to important spiritual lessons of forgiveness and reconciliation. As one of the students from the last course said “I have learned how to not repeat the same mistakes again.” It is our hope that through the teaching they receive, the young people that leave M1 are equipped to be reintegrated well into society and share the good things they have learned with others.
Each child graduating receives a certificate and gets to share what they have learnt with the class. Last Friday’s graduation was the culmination of lots of hard work that I have seen the counseling staff put in over the last month. Whenever I walk into a counseling session it is clear to see that the children enjoy being there and are building vital relationships with our counsellors. For me, that alone is a huge cause for celebration.
We want the young people we work with to be reminded every time we see them that they matter and that their future can look different from their past. Thank you for allowing us to do this important work through your financial support and prayerful encouragement.”