Driven by her love for books and art, Susan Tusabe felt that the only way she can impact lives of children in her community is through teaching kids how to read and write. She believes that literacy is the center of everything and a basic need for a successful community.
“In this era of information, literacy is the number one avenue through which we can solve other problems faced in our communities say, HIV/AIDS, early teenage pregnancies, violence and gender inequality good governance.” Susan says
For how long have you been interested in literature and books? Where did you get the inspiration?
I have been interested in literature since my first memories, growing up I did not have many books but my parents had the bible, I remember just loving to read it as a book. Then later in my teenage life I discovered many stories and writers like Charles Dickens and the inspiration I got from such stories and words was pushed me to be stronger, a better learner and a more hopeful person.
Tell us about the work of Art of a Child.
Art of a Child is a community organization dedicated to empower children and young people through literacy and art skills as well as equipping them with the ability to become change makers in their own communities.
Art of a child was chosen as a name because we believe every young person has the ability, the potential or a talent, call it ‘an art’ that they can use as a tool to make their lives better.
We run reading clubs for children in underserved communities, a book festival and a read aloud day for social mobilization of literacy among communities, literacy camps.
What have been your greatest inspirations, lessons in working with children?
We believe they have great potential and are hindered only by lack of mentors or a better education and when we take them into our program they are willing and excited to learn, that even inspires us even more! Personally, what I have learnt from these children are-every child out there is hungry for knowledge and has dreams, they just need someone to believe in them and show them that there is hope.
So how did you end up in the literacy projects and yet you are a trained finance graduate?
I worked in the finance feel but then I got bored and I did not feel like I was utilising my full potential, I am people oriented and love working people hands on rather than dealing with computers. When I started a reading club near my home area at that time, I realized I was more happy working with children in the community than the office work, I therefore looked more into their needs and saw that all the problems they faced was because they had no literacy skills.
What have been your greatest challenges?
The greatest challenge has been going to communities that are only used to getting help through handouts like money, food and not appreciating the services that empower them, however the children love the workshops we have with them, so as time goes on the parents appreciate after seeing positive changes in their children’s behavior as they love school more, become better readers and love community work activities.
Despite your challenges, what are your most outstanding achievements?
Getting the children we work with out of their little boxes, developing school lovers and readers has been the most outstanding.
What do you have to tell fellow youth that have no jobs?
There is an art in all of us, our job is to discover it, our passions will push us do things and also if we ask ourselves what we can do to change a situation- after we discover what we love, we can then try to use it to change the situation-it is a good start to employ ourselves.
You are an upcoming poet, musician, trained finance manager, finance manager, social entrepreneur and artist? What’s your secret in balancing all these responsibilities?
Ha Ha haha! I don’t think I am all that, the poetry and music are a hobby, something I do to relax and enjoy good times with friends. The secret is just doing things I enjoy doing, I am passionate about young people so going to spend time with them is a fun time, discovering their minds, teaching and learning from them and enjoying good books as a community.
So please share with us any links where we can get more details about your work.
Art of a Child-Uganda on Facebook
What do you have to tell to the world about Uganda that they did not know?
Uganda is rich. I don’t know who is out there saying Uganda is poor and what their basis is!
By Denis Ssesanga