Literacy for Life is an early childhood development initiative focused on children and youth ages 1 – 13. The program targets the most vulnerable children and families, to ensure that children have increased access to quality early childhood development services and education. This is accomplished through a couple programs that include;

The YR HeadStart:

This is the L4L activity program for children 1 -6 years that attend schooling of any form. The program works through local leaders to scout and find children that have not been enrolled in pre-school due to various life circumstances.

The children are subjected to a pre-school curriculum that incorporates writing, reading and playing at both Youth Rising Mukono and Kitende. 

Schedule: Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 12 PM. 

YR JoyLabs:

This is a mobile L4L program in schools that enhance learning, play, and creative projects, to support teachers on the new competency-based education curriculum, being introduced by the Ministry of Education and Sports.

The program trains teachers and volunteers to establish JoyLabs, a safe space within a school where children gather and play a game, read a book, or watch a movie. Teachers in the participating in the JoyLabs program compete in the Learn2Earn Competition by working on planned project activities with their learners. The best teachers with the most successful projects win prizes from Youth Rising at the end of the term. 

Schedule: 2-3 days a week, at least 2 hours/per volunteer/day. 

YR AfterSchool

The afterschool program is for kids who go to school but want to engage in more learning and recreation activities after school. The after school program includes the following activities

  • Library: A conducive reading space for children/students in or close to national examination classes: including P.6/P.7 & S.3, S4, S.5and S.6. Schedule: 5 PM – 8 PM, Monday – Wednesday. 
  • Saturday Reading Camps (SRCs): This is a daytime activity for kids IN SCHOOL (Primary level), to come to YR and read, learn, watch a movie, engage in creative activities, and games and sports. Schedule: Saturdays, from 9 AM – 12 PM.
  • Music, Dance, Drama and Sports (MDDS). Every Thur-Friday, all youth in and out of school are allowed to come and participate in different music, dance, drama, and sports activities, starting from 4 PM – 6 PM. Youth sign up for different activities, and compete as individuals or teams, with winners getting prizes from Youth Rising at the end of each competition. 

Why do we do this? 

Early Child Development is critical in the wellbeing of a child as there is a positive link between early childhood learning and future holistic development. From 2007 when the ECD policy in the education sector was launched in Uganda followed by advocacy across the country, the proportion of children attending preschool increased from 2% in 2006 to 3% in 2007.

Currently, the proportion of children in pre-school expressed as a percentage of the population aged three to five is 9% which translates into a gap of 91%. The existing gap is likely to persist if the government does not come up with affirmative action to avert the status quo.

The Literacy for Life Program is there contributing to reducing the 91% gap by offering free preschool sessions to kids that visit our centers in Mukono and Kitende. The idea is to help these children defeat any developmental challenges that would have come out of lack of access to early childhood development services. Kids in the program learn how to read, write and socialize.

“My name is Shadia and my mom started bringing me here at Youth Rising for the Literacy for Life Program since I was 2 years old. I love our teacher, Ms. Jackie because she spends a lot of time with us teaching us new skills like reading and writing. She also lets us play with toys and we also sing and dance. I am performing well in class because I have had a chance to learn so many things in our class here at Youth Rising.  In the future, I want to be a doctor who only treats children because I don’t like when myself or my siblings fall sick and skip school”.