Day 4 – Saturday 7th February 2015
Today we were up early for a long day of filming and interviewing at Pioneer. The roads were eerily quiet on a Saturday morning, but our driver Ronald reassured us that everyone was just resting, lucky them!
We arrived to the sound of laughter and music, which was a lovely welcome. The children have some prep classes at the weekend, but they mostly fill their time cleaning and washing their uniforms and bed sheets, and playing and hanging out together.
The Girls Club had come to school on a Saturday especially for us, and Abigail and I visited each smaller group in turn. Each group took some time showing us what they were making. First, Gloria spoke about how they sew bags to carry books or sanitary products out of cement bags. Each design was slightly different, with some girls weaving different patterns. Madam Florence told us that as part of girls club, the girls are taught about feminine hygiene during menstruation. I didn’t know that teenage girls having their periods is a big reason for girls dropping out of school in Uganda. PEAS try and combat this by providing safe separate latrines, and private areas to shower.
Second, Esther showed us baskets that the girls in her group were making. They are made out of banana leaves and used to store food or personal items. The last group were making envelopes using paper, scissors and glue. This group were all boys, so Abigail asked why had they joined Girls Club. A young boy called Raymond answered: “we say in Uganda if a girl is educated, the whole nation is educated.”
We then were treated to three performances from the students, starting with the choir who sang their school anthem, followed by a dance group and lastly a play. The play was about quite a raw subject of a young girl who had fallen pregnant whilst at school. Most of the teachers and even students wanted her expelled from school, but two of the teachers didn’t agree and argued passionately for her to stay in education because it would be better for her and the child. It really echoed Mary’s story and that of her daughter’s. It made me pleased that PEAS’ policy is to allow girls back in to education even if they have had a child, which I think is really important.
It was an extremely busy day, which was at once emotional and inspiring. Seeing these young people, especially boys, be so passionate about supporting equality within education was wonderful.