Don Bosco Calm is very industrious but it has a major duty of helping the children with talent discovery and development. There are a number of sections: Jazz Band, brass band, Acrobats, Youth Alive. This department is the main entertaining group at the centre incase there are visitors or any important activity at the Centre. There is another activity called the talent show where children are given opportunity to display all sorts of talent they have. We have had comedians, dancers, actors, children carrying out mimes, and many more during the show. It is one of the children’s favorite shows; this is so because it really makes all the people present have their ribs cracked since the presentations are always funny and interesting. This is done with the guidance of the uncles in charge and at the end of the day, children are further guided and helped to improve in the activities that they present during the talent show.
In the Jazz Band section, children are taught how to play keyboard, guitars both rhythm and bass, Jazz drums and most importantly, children are encouraged to compose and sing there own songs with the assistance and support of the uncles in charge. In line with this, three children went and took part in the Bayimba cultural festival which took place this year 2011 in Jinja and these children had an opportunity of singing their own songs. Most importantly, this group animates during mass celebration at the centre by accompanying the choir and this has always made Mass at the centre very interesting and prayerful for the members who attend.
There too is the brass band section, which was introduced in the year 2007. This section was started by the then Director, Rev. Fr. Richard Jozwiak who was the only Salesian at the centre together with Joseph Wandera, who was the trainer at the time. It started with 30 bugles and the children used to practice every morning from 6:00am to 7:00am and after mastering, then an opportunity came and the section received 16 flugelhorns, a bass drum and some side drums. The section grew stronger and over the years it has acquired other instruments. Currently it has a number of trumpets, flugelhorns, trombones, tubas, horns, French horn, flutes, clarinets, baritones, euphoniums, side drums, bass drums, cymbals, Saxophone. Thanks to the Salesians at the centre who are looking for all that is required to equip the brass band section with the needed instruments, but more thanks go to all the people who are sacrificing what they have to ensure that the children at Don Bosco – CALM receive these instruments, and are helped to discover and develop their talents. The centre has now developed a brass band, made up of only the children from the centre and once in a while, it is invited to go and entertain people at different functions. Important to note here is that, as the goal of talent discovery and development is being realised, the brass band section does not present itself as the first priority to the children because education is taken as the number one priority for the children as they go through their rehabilitation process before resettlement.
There is the Youth Alive group. This is a group that is part of an organization called Youth Alive Uganda which works with young people in the field of promoting life and values among youth. At Don Bosco – CALM, unlike other groups where the club is always started with an Education for Life workshop, the group was initiated just before the regional festivals in 2006. (NB: on an annual basis, Youth Alive Uganda organizes festivals in Singing, drama, poetry and fine art). Due to their interest, their commitment, dedication and talent, the children for the first time were able to be among the first three schools that took part in the festivals. This made them qualify for the National festivals. At the same National festivals, Don Bosco – CALM was the second over all and the children received their trophy handed to them by the then President of Uganda. The function was held at UMA Conference Hall – Lugogo. (New vision Uganda of 4th July 2006). Thanks to the then Director of the centre, Br. John Njuguna Ngigi SDB, who started the initiative, supported the group in all ways required and made sure that the children are very comfortable. Thanks also to the then patron of the group – Joseph Wandera, who took up the initiative, wrote the play, song, and poem and trained the children to be able to compete skillfully with groups from other schools. Progressively, the Youth Alive group at CALM has done its best and in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the group was always taking the first position in the Central Regional Youth Alive Festivals and for that matter, there is a trophy at the centre which is for keeps. This is a great achievement for the children who were once neglected, abandoned, abused, dejected, battered and deemed useless and hopeless.
In the group, children are reminded of how unique they are, how talented they are, how important they are, how “they can make it” no matter the circumstances or their past. This among others has helped to raise their self esteem, feel confident to compete with any group from any kind of educational institution. One important thing to note here is that most of the children at the centre and in the Youth Alive Club are in primary level of education, yet most of the other groups are in either Secondary Schools or in Tertiary Institutions.
In addition to these festival activities, the children have been taught dancing and choreography and they are gradually improving their skills. Courtesy of the Youth Alive group, all the children at the centre have an opportunity of having an Education for life programme which is conducted by the Youth Alive Uganda and this helps the children to learn more on how to manage their lives without taking risky behaviours especially those that can easily lead them into acquiring HIVAIDS. This is so because Youth Alive Uganda was formed with an intention of helping young people with mainly alternative activities which would help them avoid acquiring HIVAIDS and this was because many youth were getting infected with HIV by the time of Youth Alive inception in 1993 in Kamwokya.
One can say that the Don Bosco – CALM acrobats group is the best youngest group in Uganda. They are very good and they are always showing improvement in the skill they display. It has reached to a point that children will move one or two steps and they somersault and this is always done unconsciously.The department has had an opportunity of taking 15 children in 2009 and in 2010 to Poland where they were able to visit many places but most importantly the children were able to get in touch with some adoption parents from Poland. They met them in churches; they also met children in schools and also in public places. The children were singing during mass and making some performances of acrobats, traditional dances and music from Uganda and many more different items.
This department awes a lot of thanks to Rev. Fr. Richard Jozwiak for his tireless support. He never hesitates to equip the different sections with the required instruments, machines or items. He is always giving and welcoming ideas which are meant to help the children with Talent discovery and development. He supports the department in all situations at all times. This, I believe, is so because of his Love for the children. Thanks for having a “big fat” heart Fr. Richard, and thanks for extending it to others.
For any assistance for the Center
Salesians of Don Bosco
Fr Elie NYANDWI, Rector
Phone: (+256) 788936115
Account Name: SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO
Bank: STANBIC BANK UGANDA LIMITED
AC. Number: 9030000060541 (USD)
9030005801078 (Uganda Shillings)
SWIFT CODE: SBICUGKX