This is the second time I have visited Lawra. The first was in 2014 when ATE was in its infancy. It has been wonderful to see how ATE has grown and developed since then.
I had the great privilege of working with Ernestina and Kaamil, the SNAP staff. They both made me feel very welcome. Their dedication, hard work and care for the SNAP children and families shines through.
Our first task was to make the centre bright, colourful and interactive for the children. We were so lucky to have a local artist who painted the most amazing tree for us in the story corner. This meant that we could continue the tradition of having stories under the tree. Funded by a UK donor we were able to purchase mattresses and cushions, and the local carpenter made a low-level table to make the children more comfortable.
We next developed topics and activities together. We were able to make many resources from local materials, and spent hours covering and painting cardboard boxes to use for storage. We painted blocks of wood cut out by the local carpenter to make building blocks. Painting mats and aprons were made from old sacks. Pencil pots created from plastic water bottles were other examples of how everyday materials were recycled.
Ernestina and I spent time planning 8 topics, and found and made the materials and needed for each one. We also devised a simple recording format to show what the learning objective was for each session.
The greatest part of my trip was the SNAP play scheme days. We were able to work with the children and watch their mothers and grandmothers interacting with them. This was a huge privilege and a real source of enjoyment and excitement.
I was also asked to run a SNAP monthly meeting. It was decided to use the books kindly donated in the UK and launch a small SNAP library. The mothers and children listened intently while I read the story and Ernestina translated. The mothers then shared books with the children, which was a truly magical time.
By Dee Anderson