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Fishing children from slums to class is Tabalamule's calling

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th May 2012 11:12 AM

He is clad in light purple long sleeved shirt with a grey trouser, a black belt and black shoes. He completes the style with brown sunglasses.

Fishing children from slums to class is Tabalamule's calling

He is clad in light purple long sleeved shirt with a grey trouser, a black belt and black shoes. He completes the style with brown sunglasses.

By Maureen Nakatudde

He is clad in light purple long sleeved shirt with a grey trouser, a black belt and black shoes. He completes the style with brown sunglasses.

You would mistake Geoffrey Tabalamule, an English and music teacher at Kid’s Corner Junior School, Makerere, Kivulu for a movie star.

Although other teachers just do the basics of only teaching in class, Tabalamule’s influence extends to the community. Although he is not yet a father, Tabalamule’s love for the children is immense.

“I love children because I was once young and now I’m helping the society,” the tall, soft-spoken teacher says.

 Community problems

Juliet Kato, the head teacher of the school, says Tabalamule is always willing to help whoever is in need.” She adds that as a result many children love him.

Tabalamule moves around the communities sensitizing parents and their children about the importance of education. “Some parents did not know the importance of taking their children to school.

Some would say they didn’t have money. We encouraged them to talk to the school administration so that their children could be enrolled and they pay in installments,” he reveals.

Tabalamule who has been a teacher for 10 years says he persuaded children who were loitering in Kivulu and Banda, to return to school.

 The difference

Since many parents in Makerere-Kivulu and Banda were poor, they were resigned to fate and thought they could not afford to take their children to school. But Tabalamule managed to convince them to give their children education. Many sold the little they had and took back their children to school.

“I told them about the benefi ts of education and how their children would turn out in future. For many parents who had not gone to school, this was a source of hope and satisfaction,” Tabalamule says.

“Consequently, even though they did not have enough money, they have tried their best to meet the needs of their children.”

The change of attitude is not only visible in the parents but also their children: “They used to stay away from home, loitering in the slums but now they are disciplined and responsible children. They stopped watching videos in make-shift cinema halls and collecting scrap,” Tabalamule reveals.

 Achievements

When Tabalamule talks about what he has achieved, his face lights up. “Sometimes, I feel humbled, when parents thank me for what I have done,” he says.

“They always keep me informed about the progress of their children. For instance, some of them are in secondary school, while others are doing different courses at institutions of higher learning.”

The happy parents and their children are now part of Tabamule’s life. Recently when he graduated from Uganda Media school of mass communication and business studies with a diploma in journalism, they showered him with gifts.

Tabalamule says he did journalism because he wanted to be the voice of the vulnerable children. So many children are tortured and their rights denied, there is need to sensitise the public about that.”

He has not only changed the school but also the whole community.

Rhoda Were, a Primary Seven pupil, says Tabalamule always teaches them to abstain from sex to avoid HIV.

“He urges us to stay away from sugar mummies, daddies and boda boda riders. If you sleep around, you will end like Tata Ngina or Mama Ngina (a man or woman who has not gone to school and has so many children),” Josephine reveals.

“He is also humorous and his lessons are interesting.”

Challenges

Although so much has been achieved, Tabalamule notes there are still some challenges.

With no fi nances, Tabalamule always does his sensitization by walking around communities, which is exhausting. But his only joy is that he has made a positive change on the community.

“The biggest challenge has been my age,” the 28-year-old reveals. “Some parents do not take seriously what I tell them because they think I’m too young.”

In addition, Tabalamule finds it difficult to convince the children to stay in school, especially when they are hungry.

Despite his tight schedule, Tabalamule he always creates time to help the community.

 

Background

Tabalamule was born in Kayunga in 1983 to John Richard Kiwanuka a business man and Margaret Najjemba.

“I don’t know my birth position in my father’s family because on the day I was born, five more children were delivered,” he says.

His parents separated when he was in Primary Two. He was raised by a step-mother, Mary Kiwanuka, who treated him like her own child.

“She always told me to be the best,” Tabalamule notes.

Although teaching was not his first choice, Tabalamule says that he has now fallen in love with the profession. Tabalamule went to Ndeeba Primary School in Kayunga district for Primary One and Two. He sat his Primary Leaving Examination at St. Obadiah Sajjabi Primary School, Kayunga in 1995.

In 1999, he sat his O’level at Nakasero Secondary School, but his parents were not happy with his results. They decided to send him to Gaba Teachers’ College where he got a certifi cate in education in 2002.

 After completion, he went to New Hope Nursery School, Banda between 2002 and 2008, then in 2009 to 2010 moved to Vine Yard Christian School. He is currently teaching at Kid’s Corner Junior School, Makerere Kivulu.

Fishing children from slums to class is Tabalamule’s calling

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