Our Life Skills Program incorporates STEPS, a character-and-values-building curriculum developed by educators in Uganda and South Africa. This curriculum includes a diverse array of stories, poems, songs and activities specifically tailored to an African audience.
The program addresses the very real need for holistic education in schools. In Uganda though significant emphasis is placed on academic instruction, teachers are constantly searching for educational materials that address everyday issues such as honesty, diligence, anger, forgiveness, cooperation, overcoming difficulties and having a positive outlook, among others.
Some years ago, while the war was still raging in Gulu and literally thousands of children and teenagers were being dragged from their schools and forced into becoming child soldiers, Family Care Uganda donated a number of these curriculum sets to teams involved with counseling returned abductees. Because the anecdotes, activities and discussion units are specifically geared to African youth, they discovered that the material served as an extremely useful aid in their rehabilitation efforts.
The STEPS Program is also used at the temporary school for orphans in Gulu, which FCU is actively involved with. The children love the material and the teachers report that they have found the program to be an invaluable resource. They focus on one character or values topic each week, and read stories, have coloring activities, games and learn songs related to it throughout the week. The meaningful and interesting stories set the stage for reflection and group discussion on the study topic and the questions at the end of each story help the teachers in guiding the students in everyday application in their own lives.
FCU obtained sponsorship for full sets of the Character Building curricula to be given to 20 of the most underprivileged schools in Gulu. A workshop was also held, attended by 60 teachers from the 20 schools. The workshop discussions and presentations were interspersed by multi-media clips, story applications and other hands-on activities, exploring the variety of applications and methods for utilizing the material to its full potential in the classroom.
In the months to come, FCU staff will be returning to many of these schools, at their invitation, to offer support and ongoing training in the program’s application. Additionally, FCU plans to distribute more curriculum sets to impoverished schools in the area surrounding the new building site for the orphanage in Gulu.