We facilitated the setting up and running of 'Little Stars' Play-Centre. (This is effectively a pre-school, but is much easier to register as a 'play-centre'!)
We helped Pastor Sikiyani to choose the teachers and to send them for training with Oasis, and offered the teachers further training both at the church office and on placements in existing pre-schools. We worked out the logistics of enrolling children (aged 4-5) and liaising with parents/guardians, together with Pastor Sikiyani and his team.
We helped the church to register the play-centre with the council, but discovered that the land needed to be registered first, and so the play-centre operates informally, without taking (even nominal) fees.
Almost all of the physical resources required for the play-centre (food for the first term, tables, chairs, stationery, cleaning products etc) were donated by El-Shammah congregation members, and the remainder raised by external donors. The parents all contributed so that aprons could be made by a community member for the children to use as uniforms.
After SEED being very involved in the preparation stage and for the first six months, the local team completely took over the running of this play-centre, which is exactly how it should be!
In November 2005 the first class 'graduated', ready to go to primary school, and they put on a graduation ceremony with a nativity play, songs and speeches. The parents (and the whole community) were so proud, giving gifts to encourage their children in their achievement. This class of 20 had moved from being shy, quiet little people to confident ready-for-school children, speaking two languages, knowing their letters, numbers, days of the week etc.
Two more local teachers were then trained and the class size increased, due to the overwhelming demand for places. Staff and teachers went on to work with neighbouring villages to help them set up their own pre-schools.
Teams from El-Shammah (including the Oasis volunteers sent to work for El-Shammah), all of whom we had a hand in training, have done various youth and children's work activities, from helping in the school, to playing sports, to organised jam-packed holiday clubs.
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