Matthew Fawcett This summer I’ll be travelling to Uganda with a charity called East African Playgrounds to help build a school playground. Your donations will go towards building materials but also helping train teachers in play- based learning and providing welding apprenticeships for local people.

The charity builds playgrounds year-round and has already build 300; not only in schools but also in community centres and refugee settlements across Uganda. Play offers children the opportunity to enjoy their invaluable childhoods and form important friendships. On top of this the playgrounds have been shown to increase school attendance and enrolment, reduce antisocial behaviour and encourages a culture that appreciates the importance of children really enjoying their childhoods within the community.

Play also allows children to develop and learn in a way they are unable to in the classroom; especially considering the method of teaching in Uganda is dictation of the lesson and the children repeating facts back to the teacher. Children can gain many skills through play; for example a teacher from Kawule Primary School explains how she is now able to use a newly installed playground as a learning resource:
"Before the playground was installed, I would struggle to teach topics, such as budgeting and money, due to lack of resources. But ever since the playground was installed, I have been using the play shop for the children to learn through role play, resulting in the children grasping the topic much faster and with deeper understanding."
Skills developed through play include problem solving, communication and creativity among others.

Additionally, the charity educates teachers in play-based teaching; this method of teaching helps students understand lessons better and especially helps those who struggle with conventional teaching methods. The charity provides welding apprenticeships for young people, giving them long-term skills to secure a better future.

The difference your donation makes:
£5.11 can give one child their childhood back through access to a safe, fun and child-focused playground.
£21.83 can educate a teacher on the importance of including play in education and creates a peer network for them to share their learning in.
£73.80 can equip a street connected young person with everything they need to learn the basics of welding, from their own set of work boots through to ear defenders and glasses.
£131 can teach a community of caregivers and educators about the importance of play at home and school, as well as how to maintain their playground.
£197.61 can train a street connected young person for a month to become a qualified builder or welder through our apprenticeship scheme.

If you would like to find out more about my volunteering project (and maybe sign up to join me) then head to this webpage https://www.eastafricanplaygrounds.org/volunteer-project Matthew Fawcett