Supporting Tjeko

Uganda November 2019

Since May 2019 I have been volunteering at Tjeko in the Netherlands, developing content for the Tjeko Live programmes and material for their “Creativity is everywhere” series that they implement in schools in Uganda. Tjeko is a social profit organisation that promotes the importance of play in developing countries. For more information please visit their website www.tjeko.nl to see and support the amazing things they are up to!

In November 2019, I had the opportunity to go with Tjeko to Uganda to meet the Ugandan staff and present a three day workshop.

And what a fun-filled and action packed week it was!

I had the privilege to see the team in action - implementing the Tjeko live programmes at various schools in different communities around the Jinja region. Tjeko (spelled “Cheko” in Swahili) means “Laughter”, and this is truly what this organisation brings to the communities, the opportunity to play, relax, laugh and above all, to have some fun!

“Every child deserves a childhood” is what drives this organisation.

During my time there I was able to present a three day workshop on Using play techniques with children, to the Tjeko staff and volunteers. The training consisted of interactive workshops, theory and the opportunity to practice the play techniques in small groups. We covered themes such as the psychosocial importance of play, using play as a therapeutic tool, the social and emotional development and needs of a child and how to engage with the community to promote the importance of play. It was a wonderful experience, the team’s enthusiasm and eagerness to learn was great.

This organisation has grown so much and is growing stronger and bigger by the day, reaching more children, families and communities by the day, keep up the good work! I hope to return to this beautiful country and meet again with the wonderful Tjeko team in Uganda. Thank you for all the “Tjeko”!

So in light of all this, the play express will aim to further develop the training material and focus on a practical method to encourage “play” in the communities. This will be useful for parents and caregivers, especially “magogos” (grandmothers) to help them engage and connect with their children through the use of play. During my previous experience, working in South Africa in a township, I realised that play is regarded as a senseless activity. My aim will be to show how essential play is to a child’s psychosocial development, by developing and implementing a grass roots level programme that would benefit the whole community. The Ugandan trip has reaffirmed this need.

The programme will consist of a range of workshops covering different themes relevant to child-rearing and child development. Most importantly it will equip parents and caregivers with the necessary knowledge and skills to connect with their children through the use of play.

The next stop? Zimbabwe 2020. If you would like to get involved send us an email at: info@theplayexpress.com