February Newsletter: The Sanctuary

February Newsletter: The Sanctuary

February marked the beginning of many new opportunities at The Sanctuary! Uganda starts its school year in February, so all of our boys and girl went back to school after a 2 month “summer” holiday! 2 of our older boys – Steven and Jacob are going into Senior 4 this year, which means they are finishing their "O" level of high school.
In the Ugandan Education System, Senior 1 to Senior 4 is "O" level, and Senior 5 to Senior 6 is "A" level. Essentially those that complete "O" level and stop there are the ones who are planning to go to College, Vocation or find a job. The ones that complete "A" level are the ones who are planning to go to University, etc.

At the end of both Senior 4 and Senior 6 all students have huge national exam, for Senior 4 they are called UNEBS (Uganda National Examination Board). For this reason we decided to send Jacob and Steven to a boarding school in Kampala, where they will be able to focus solely on their education, without the distraction of things happening at home, with their families, etc. while they prepare for their UNEBS.
They are excited that they are being given this opportunity to focus on their studies, and while it is/has been quite the adjustment for them both to change from living at The Sanctuary to being in boarding, they know that it is the best decision for their futures’.
Another change is that David, Mansen and Robert (3 of our younger boys) have started P3 – which means that they now go to school for a FULL DAY! So if you decide you want to visit The Sanctuary any time between 7:00am - 530pm, you will find an empty house! (*For the first 2 weeks you could find these 3 boys passed out on their beds directly from school – a full day of school is a big adjustment! ☺)
The rest of our Senior boys are settled back into school at Jinja S.S. and we have decided to hire a tutor for the boys to teach them in the evenings to make sure that they are understanding what they are being taught in school. This means that from 7:30-9:00 every night, including Saturdays and early Sunday mornings, the older boys are getting the help that they need to pass their exams! We are proud of how serious the boys have been in studying, and we look forward to seeing changes in their marks. (The tutor is even advising them to wake up at 4am to revise – and some of them are doing it!)
We also decided to hire a social worker, a music teacher and an art teacher to come and start working with some of our JR boys. This year we are going to intentionally be focusing on the emotional well being of our boys. Many of them have been through very difficult situations, and they are looking for a way to work through things that have happened to them in their earlier years. The first step in helping them to manage the situations they have come from is by providing for then individual and group counseling with a trained Ugandan Social Worker. We also have many boys that love to play music and draw and we have decided to use what they already love as an outlet for the emotions they may be struggling with. We are excited to see how these new opportunities bring peace to the boys’ lives.
We are also having so much fun with all of our volunteers!! And are so thankful for the love and support they bring to The Sanctuary!