Friday, April 17, 2009

No longer home alone

“I really like it here,” Tjingaitjita says earnestly. “As well as my homework I get help with extra English and Maths – that’s important for school you know.” Never silent for very long, his sister, Hitjitevi, chimes in, “And the singing! I like the singing!”

Tjingaitjita, who’s in Grade 4, and Hitjitevi, Grade 3, started coming to the After School Program (ASP) at the beginning of this year. They refused to go to the previous after school care they attended because it was “boring” and their older sister was desperate to find a program that would help them with their schoolwork.

Their cousin Sutuu, who is a volunteer helper at the ASP explains, “Their mother passed away last year and so they are living with their father and sister. Their father works and their sister is in her third year of studying law, so most of the time there’s no one at home when they come back from school. I told the sister about EBC’s Program and asked her to try it – after all, it’s also very close to where they live. So they started coming.”

The children have been attending the ASP for two months now and their sister is happy with their progress. “Tjingaitjita and Hitjitevi like it and find it helpful…[on most days] they get all their homework done…I’m now waiting to see the results on their school reports at the end of term.”
Hitjitevi (left) and Tjingaitjita get some help from Mercia
She also thinks that what they learn about the Bible at the ASP is very important. She is a Christian but their father isn’t, so she tries to teach the children about the Bible but often does not have enough time. Now she can see that their understanding is growing through the weekly Bible Club lessons.

I ask the children what activities they enjoy at the ASP. “Sports!” says Tjingaitjita. “And the Bible Club, I like learning the verses and learning about God.” When I ask why it’s important to know about God, he thinks for a moment and then says, “If you don’t live the way God wants you to, you’re probably going to do bad stuff and go to prison.”

“Yes,” says Hitjitevi, “learning about the Bible helps you not to be bad to other people but treat them nicely.”

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