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Day 6 – The Joy of Santa Catarina School

Today was dedicated to the Santa Catarina School in Chongoene and the technical team from Xai-Xai and Chongoene.

When we arrived at the school, we could already hear the children’s voices in their classrooms. They welcomed us with joy and songs and even performed a short play, albeit with some shyness. We talked with the teachers about the plan for the day and tried to play some of the planned games to help the children locate positions – above, below, left, right. It was almost time for their morning snack and porridge, so we let the classes continue without further interruptions. It’s always a joy to see the “friends train” line up to wash their hands before their meal.

We visited the new school kitchen, a source of great pride. For several years, the cooks had been asking us for a total kitchen renovation, which finally happened in December thanks to the generosity of a donor. The space is tidy and clean, with working conditions and space they have never had before at the school. Everyone was happy, although some last-minute adjustments were still needed.

The arrival of Father Artério, our local partner, allowed us to have a long conversation about administrative issues (I won’t bore you with details) but also about ways to assess the impact of the children leaving the school. This way, we can not only better report the long-term impact to our donors but also evaluate where we can improve our work. We discussed the essential follow-up of families on the children’s progress and how we can all work in partnership with them.

In the beginning of the afternoon, we had the chance of observing the After School support classes for the children in 1st to 3rd grade, most of them Sponsored by UPG or former students of the pre-school. We read a text with Monitor Vitor who is responsible for the project and took the chance to distribute some extra materials.

At the end of the day, after a fun balloon distribution, it was time to sit down with the team to discuss essential topics for the evolution of the Sponsorship program, such as the work with families and young people with additional methods of social intervention, such as lectures and discussion groups focused on at-risk groups. We also talked about the importance of following up with the Sponsored Children after their completion and exit from the program, so they still feel part of the ALG family and can turn to us in case of need. The discussion was long and warm, a sign that we have a team that genuinely cares about these children’s lives and A Little Gesture as an organization.

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