“My interest to join and work with DCI was to inspire; little did I know I was to be inspired.” It’s amazing what an outsider can reveal to us about ourselves! At DCI we just enjoyed the energies and brain power of a couple of interns in our field office. These young people have brought us a fresh perspective and energy as they have worked very closely with our team in the office and in the villages.
Each year DCI receives university interns who are required to do practical field work as part of their degree. Usually these are Ugandan students who are studying in areas that align with our ministry areas. The students must contribute to the organization with their knowledge, creativity, and objective, outside perspective, and DCI must mentor them and guide them in practical experience related to their studies. This year we mentored two young women from Kyambogo University, finishing their studies in Adult and Community Education.
One of our interns, Gertrude Kuseka, was inspired last week to write a note expressing her feelings about what she has experienced with DCI over the last couple of months. Here is what she writes:
“Let me tell you about my stay at DCI.
My interest to join and work with DCI was to inspire; little did I know I was to be inspired. The overwhelming passion of participants towards enhancement of their living standards to contribute to the quality of life was so moving; it enabled me to gain much more morale and a positive attitude towards my chosen profession. I am empowered more to stimulate the social functioning of communities towards inclusive development.
The zeal portrayed by participants towards the program of adult education was visible through active participation during classes regardless of the insults thrown to them from their family and community members. They are told things like “At your age what can you attain out of education apart from wastage of time and losing your marriage, the better you concentrate and take care of your husband and the children.” But the students’ consistency and insistence will contribute to their intended goal. I was really inspired by the learners from the hills of Bugisu region in Bugobero.
Adult education is not just a personal issue; it has a development dimension contributing to the reduction of poverty, gender inequality, violence, forced child marriage, and power imbalance. These things are a limitation to development, and for adult learners to achieve full potential to live their dream, all of these things should be addressed. Through the provision of knowledge and services of guiding learners to manage and address their challenges, they have gone ahead to grow their businesses thanks to the entrepreneurship lessons provided, manage gender based violence issues in their families and communities through understanding the aspect of equality among themselves as women and men, regarding gender roles related to traditions in their respective communities.
“Being illiterate doesn’t mean that I can not learn…”
No matter the illiteracy level of an individual, with proper support adults have the ability to learn and to handle their challenges with more strength and resilience. The DCI team visits to check the progress of the classes healing from illiteracy, not just providing classes, but providing holistic support to the teachers, and utilizing the perspectives of participants who have experienced the same pain of illiteracy before. This enables them to address the challenges that are being faced at the implementation phases of the programme.”
Gertrude’s perspective is encouraging for us. She has written from her experience working with our staff in the office, and also meeting with teachers, church leaders, and former and current students of our program. Her excitement challenges us to continue pressing on as we work to provide life-changing education to many more people. We are always seeking out better ideas and perspectives to improve our programs and ministry. Maybe even you might be able to share with us as well.