At the heart of our ministry is the Rising Star Recreation and Educational Center, this is the main ministry center for Rising Star.
The Ugandan school year begins in February and ends in November. It consists of three terms, lasting about three months each. In between each term is a break. Between first and second term, and again between second and third term, the break is three weeks long. At the end of November, the third term ends with a two-month break.
When the kids are on breaks from school, Rising Star runs soccer programs three days a week. Our program uses soccer as an incentive for kids to work hard. Before coming to the soccer field, kids first spend the morning hours in our reading center where they are taught how to read and write. About 60 percent of primary aged kids in Uganda are illiterate, yet all government testing materials are in English. Because of this Rising Star put a major emphasis on reading.
Kids are given different assignments to challenge them have make them think outside the box. Assignments can range from studying for spelling bees, to reading a book and making a presentation about the books characters. While the typical Ugandan classroom can be a bit boring, teachers stand at the front of the class write notes on the chalkboard, our education coach makes lessons fun and exciting. We play games, use puppets and much more to gain the interest of the kids.
Once completing their holiday studies program, the kids have now earned their soccer equipment to play on the team. In the afternoon they go for soccer practice and get to check out soccer shoes and shin guards to wear. We end practice with a team talk where we teach lessons of discipline, hygiene, respect to others, and so much more. We also introduce the weekly Bible program to them.
After practice the kids return the items and go to a Bible study where we go deeper into the lesson that was started during our team talk time.
At the end of each school break, kids who have completed their holiday package are given rewards of school supplies to take with them to meet their school requirements. Schools in Uganda often require students to provide items such as toilet paper, brooms, and reams of paper to help the school function. The kids also are given workbooks, pens, pencils, rulers, and more to meet their academic criteria.
The program the kids go through during school breaks is made to challenge them and make them stronger students, while developing a love of Christ.