Child Development Professional Dr. Christine Parkinson gives an insight into her experiences of mentoring in the Butterfly Project
I have been acting as an international mentor for the last two years to one of the Butterfly Pioneers, Eunice aged 17years. We have had email correspondence on all kinds of issues. Eunice asks me questions and seeks help in decision-making about her project, which is about running singing and dancing groups for young children from the slums. Eunice is very musical herself and gained a scholarship to Kampala Music School, where she is learning flute, piano and guitar. I was able to get hold of a second-hand flute for her cheaply in the UK and sent that to Uganda, so that she has more chance to practice. Eunice lives in a Kampalan slum, the Acholi Quarter, and, since her father died a few years ago, her family have had to survive on a very reduced income, sometimes going days without food. However, through a sponsorship programme, Eunice has been able to attend senior school and get good marks in her exams, as she is a talented girl. She passed all her ‘O’ levels last year. Through my mentoring link with her, I have been encouraging her to find ways of increasing the income streams into her family. She is currently making handbags. Through another sponsor, she is also looking at raising chicks, with her brother. Quite a lot for a young lady, still at school, to take on. But she is a determined individual. Your sponsorship of the Chrysalis Campus, through indiegogo, will enable many others like Eunice to achieve their potential.
Very often, when people send money to Africa, they think of the recipients as being in a very passive role but the Butterfly Project acknowledges the abilities that teenage children have. They are no different from teenagers anywhere else in the world, with talents and aspirations of their own. They just have to live on less and have fewer opportunities for a decent education, as senior schooling is not free, as in the UK. Thus, many able children miss out on a secondary education. The Chrysalis Campus will be providing such an education for able teenagers from the slums and the rural districts and will be enhancing it by offering subjects that extend the pupil’s horizons beyond their immediate depriving circumstances into a global context. They will also learn the skills to become social entrepreneurs, with the tools to improve and change the circumstances in which they live.