A couple of weekends ago we celebrated the finale of the LubutoMentoring programme. All of the 120+ kids who have been involved were invited to an event where they gave us some evaluative feedback on the programme, and received awards and certificates to help them celebrate their success. Also important for the children, some of whom came directly from the streets, was that we gave them a celebratory meal of nshima, chicken and cabbage (and this was also important for me as I spent most of the day in the kitchen helping to prepare it!).
The atmosphere in the Reading Room that afternoon, as Kenny announced and handed out the awards, was electric. The youngsters were so pleased to have been a part of the programme and many cited examples of how they felt their behavior had changed for the better as a result. Some parents also came to support their children and were justifiably proud of them.
The highlight for me was when two of the kids who stay on the streets were given prizes for their attendance and good attitude. The cheers that went up in the room showed how popular these boys had become throughout the programme and their faces were a picture of pride.
Later that afternoon as I walked home from work, I passed a group of kids sitting on a street corner chatting. They all called out to me and waved their certificates at me as I passed.