When Learning is Life

25 Sep

This time last week I was in a classroom. Today, I was in a classroom.

This time last week I was helping Pete Monaghan (profession, Mediator) delivering a session on Conflict Resolution to the staff at Retrak in Kampala.


Today I was attending an excellent in-house session on Managing Change and Stakeholder Management.

This time last week there were no PowerPoint slides. Today there was an interactive white board as well as fancy folders to put all of our handouts.

Although this time last week there were also many tears as one of the volunteers donated 1 whiteboard for each of the centres. The teachers were delighted!

This time last week I worried that the Retrak staff would not appreciate the session. Who are we to tell them how to manage conflict? They are often clashing with local authorities, families, breaking up kids that are fighting, tensions running high due to the stressful nature of their jobs and the heartbreaking situations they are dealing with…

The reality? They are humble, they are keen to learn, they participate in a way I have never seen in a classroom before. They remembered sessions from ConnectingHR 2016 and 2017. They told us that their objective was to show us, this time next year, that they will be better professionals thanks to the learning that the team delivered. They have a strong mission and very clear ways of achieving it, they put passion and energy in everything they do. Given the circumstances, they also have fun, they smile, they play. They look after each other and children at the centres. They have all of the characteristics of an exceptionally high achieving team and they don’t probably even realise.


We should be more like them and we should be more like Edward.


I was mind blown during the week at finding out how desperate the children are to go to school, to learn, to get a good education. They often run away from their families and head to Kampala hoping they’ll earn enough to be able to go to school. They are smart, they want to work hard to achieve their dreams. Their faces when they saw the amount of books that one of my generous friends had donated to them, said it all. They are curious, they love Science and English and they want to be doctors, teachers, nurses, lawyers, politicians. They want to make a difference and they want to change the world. The beauty is that the wonderful Retrak staff we trained truly believe that, if they want to, they can all be Presidents one day and that’s why it’s unbelievable to watch them empower these children and change their lives.



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