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Letter from Ububele

The Ububele Educational & Psychotherapy Trust
1,10th Road, Kew. Johannesburg,
22 March 2010

A Grateful Acknowledgement of the Work of
Tatiana Kessedjian at our Nursery School

Please allow me to introduce myself, Getti Mercorio, as the CEO of Ububele, a small NGO based on the edge of one of Johannesburg densest urban townships, where Tatiana Kessedjian has been offering bodyECOlogy lessons twice a week.

The Trustees and Management Committee of Ububele resolved that I should write to tell you about the wonderful work that Tatiana has been doing in our Nursery School since September last year.

We are always delighted when people take an interest in the children in our therapeutic Nursery School, and we were pleased to welcome Tatiana. We had no idea, however, of the amazing work that she was to do. The bodyECOlogy method makes learning fun, and our children have had an incredible learning experience using their bodies and minds in this effective educational approach.

During my busy days, I attempt to pop downstairs to our Nursery School at least once a day, but always try to spend a few extra minutes there when Tatiana is giving her twice weekly lessons. The other day I briefly watched her teaching the children about geometric shapes, using dance and movement in a most creative way. As the little ones laughed and played, they were gaining knowledge in a most delightful and effective manner.

I would like to tell you just a little about our work at Ububele.

Ububele is an Nguni word meaning kindness or generosity. The Ububele Psychotherapy and Educational Trust is a mental health training institute based on the edge of Alexandra Township, a densely populated, largely impoverished apartheid-era, black settlement in the north of Johannesburg. Ububele focuses its training on psychotherapists, social workers, social auxiliary workers, nurses, pre-school and primary school teachers and lay counsellors.

Ububele’s training in mental health centres on preventative strategies, predominantly for children under the age of 7, their parents, families and caregivers. In essence, Ububele brings psychoanalytic psychotherapy away from fee-paying consulting rooms and into poor communities whose mental health needs are not well provided for by the state.

Ububele’s main focus is on preventative mental health strategies for children under the age of 7. Early childhood experiences are the most significant predictor of mental health in later life – and the converse is equally true. Programmes designed specifically to support early childhood development and wellbeing have been demonstrated to be significantly more cost-effective than therapeutic intervention that occurs in adolescence and adulthood. In order to focus on the mental health needs of under 7s, Ububele:
  • Runs a therapeutic pre-school for 50 children, as a training site. This is where Tatiana has been working each Tuesday and Friday.
  • Offers training to professional and lay counsellors who work with infants and children (and their parents) from conception to the age of 7 years.
  • Develops mental health interventions specifically suitable for public sector and community-based institutions working with children under 7 and their parents or caregivers.
  • Provides quality training for lay counsellors living in disadvantaged communities. Counselling and facilitation skills are used, particularly in group work, in a range of settings including bereavement work with children, supportive work with nurses, teachers, social auxiliary workers, community workers and HIV home-carers. The counselling and facilitation skills are generic and have wide application.
  • Trains professional mental health workers who work in the public sector in areas not dealt with in their primary training, including counselling and facilitation skills for individuals, families and groups.

Both the teachers and children have so enjoyed playing, dancing and learning with Tatiana. As a representative of our Trustees and Management Committee, I want to thank one to trees most sincerely for the generous contribution to our work given in an easy, collaborative style of partnership.

We are, of course, rather sad that Tatiana will be leaving us later this year. She is planning an event with the children and their parents on Saturday 22 May to show the families what has been achieved. We will be using that occasion to thank her and acknowledge her wonderful contribution. Tatiana is a special, talented and committed teacher and person, who has found a place in our hearts.

In the meanwhile, we have been delighted to meet her replacement, Ravioli Jambo, who, like Tatiana, is a naturally charming and easy person, and so very talented musically. The children really have taken to him very quickly, and we are very happy to have this careful handover process so well managed by one to trees. We much appreciate this sensitivity, which is very important for our children and their emotional wellbeing. Tatiana has discussed with me the proposed contract to pay the stipends directly into our bank account for disbursement to the teachers. We agree to this request, and I will fill in the necessary forms with Tatiana so that the system can begin to operate with her replacement.

In closing, we do want to stress how valuable the contribution of one to trees has been to the education and stimulation of our children, and how Tatiana has been so dedicated to the work, the children and the teachers. It is wonderful to see learning made fun and for the children to have had such a great experience.

With thanks, and very best wishes to all at One to Trees,
Yours sincerely,

Getti Mercorio
Chief Executive Officer
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3 comentários:

  1. What a beautiful letter! Congratulations, Tatiana. Here you are my reply:

    "Dear Getti,

    Thank you for your words, letter and work at Ububele.

    We are the ones that have to thank you and Ububele
    for receiving Tatiana and our dream
    with such a fertile place to make them grow.

    I hope the tree grows strong
    and leave seeds once Tatiana comes back to Brazil.
    If this happens, it means one planting was accomplished. :)

    Have a marvelous week"

  2. OM

    Wonderful job and well written letter, the fact that Tatiana trained Ravioli Jambo and he will take over creates a feeling of expansion...

    I am sure Tatiana had a great experience ;-)


  3. Reading this letter I remembered about the bodyECOlogy classes and I missed a lot!
    I can`t wait to see and share these beautiful classes with Tati in Johanesburg at the end of May.