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Our GoFundMe Campaign Update

Photo showing students at the COBURWAS primary school playing the 5 STA-Z game.

As we draw close to the end of 2020, the team at My HOME Stars wants to send its sincere gratitude for your support, especially with the recent GoFundMe campaign success. By the end of September, you had played your part in helping us meet our goal of raising $10,000 to support the primary school refugee children in the Kyangwali Refugee Camp. Since then, we have been able to accomplish a lot on the ground. Today, we are thrilled to let you know that your support has enabled us to;

1. Produce 200 game sets of the 5 STA-Z educational game. 

2. Make learning accessible for around 932 primary school children of the Kyangwali Refugee camp in Uganda.

3. Provide salaries to 10 full-time teachers at Planning for Tomorrow (P4T) primary school. 

4. Provide salaries to 10 university and high school graduates who worked as teaching assistants at the COBURWAS primary school. 

5. Provide a total of 1000 mask pieces and 4 handwashing facilities to the learning centers that needed the most. 

6. Provide a total of 12 whiteboards and necessary teaching equipment to enable the learning of children within different centers/villages. 

Game Production & Teacher Training

My HOME Stars Team is Preparing for The 5 STA-Z Game Distribution.
Our Project Coordinator Nelson Mugambwa (right) Delivering Teacher Training.

We had initially planned to do our production in China given that it would be easy to source most of the 5 STA-Z game pieces, but with the understanding that small businesses across sectors were struggling, we thought it would be more impactful to produce locally in Uganda. The production of masks, and securing of other items like whiteboards and notebooks went smoothly, but the production of the 5 STA-Z became challenging given that we had to contact different suppliers for every game piece like the board and pins. This took time and patience of our team on the ground, but overall we successfully worked with over 10 local businesses during this campaign.

After a month of working with local producers, by October 26th we had secured most of the items needed to start the program. Our project coordinators got on the bus alongside the 5 STA-Z game sets and traveled to Kyangwali. On the 2nd and 3rd of November they carried out the teacher training for all the 20 educators (10 full time teachers from P4T and 10 Teaching Assistants at COBURWAS) who were soon ready to introduce the game to their students. 

Challenges & Mitigation

  • Difficulties producing the 5 STA-Z game locally due to limited local game producers in Uganda

We knew that there was a need to work hand in hand and support local businesses. However, this would also be challenging since few small businesses in Uganda are into game production. We quickly established connections with local packaging, printing as well as art and craft producers for different game pieces. In the end we worked with more than 8 small businesses, which increased the lead time from 3 weeks to 5 weeks. We are continuing to develop the current relationships and hopefully, productions in the future will be more easier to run.

  • Challenging & Difficult Content
The content for the 5 STA-Z mostly covers learning for an entire year within different grade levels. Having spent about 6 months out of school, it was hard for the children connecting with some of the content due to the learning loss because of the lockdown. However, it was a great way for us to collect feedback from students and teachers on how best to develop future content. Teachers and students repeatedly mentioned the need to have the content developed on a termly basis. 
  • Forgetting Masks & Poor Usage 
We made sure that every child and educator involved in the program had received a reusable mask, but most of the time the children forgot to bring their masks to the community learning centers where they met teachers for support. And some who remembered to bring theirs at times didn’t wear them appropriately. Thankfully, we are seeing improvement and also there haven’t been any COVID-19 cases in Kyangwali lately. 

Moving Forward

While the funds raised were to produce games and making learning possible for the children in Kyangwali during these tough times, our ultimate goal is to develop the 5 STA-Z into a learning resource students and teachers from various backgrounds across the African continent will find fun and engaging. With the support and mentorship from  African Leadership Academy, we have been gathering both qualitative and quantitative data from the students and teachers that used the 5 STA-Z in schools, which we shall be analyzing over the next few weeks to inform us on the next steps we have to take in improving the game. We will collaborate with experts and researchers in the field of education to analyze this valuable data with the hope that the results will guide us in moving forward. My HOME Stars team is committed to making this happen, but achieving this goal will take the efforts of each one of us, especially the children and teachers currently using the game.

Primary 7 Students at COBURWAS Primary School Playing The 5 STA-Z.

Main Goals for 2021

From the first day, our ultimate goal is to develop the 5 STA-Z into a learning resource that students and teachers find fun and engaging. Going into 2021 we have four main goals to focus on; 
  1.  Continue Work with our two partner organization – (COBURWAS and P4T) to continue supporting teachers and children through capacity building and the supply of the 5 STA-Z educational game resources.
  2. Partner with three more schools – This will help us reach and support more educators and children who need the 5 STA-Z most.
  3. Focus on improving the quality of our product – We have been intentional at gathering both qualitative and quantitative data from our users (educators & students) and we shall be relying on their feedback to better enhance our product.
  4. Test our sustainability model  This will help us understand whether we are building both a scalable and sellable product that could sustain itself in a long run.
Our team at My HOME Stars is still young and there is so much to learn, but given your support, we strongly believe that we emerge victorious. Thank you once again for being part of this journey for your support means so much to us!

Happy Holidays!  MY HOME STARS TEAM

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