Stanbic bank urges parents to take keen interests in the mental health of their children

As German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein puts it: The measure ofintelligence is the ability to Change, so is the case with top management and staff of Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) who have decided to walk out of their air-conditioned offices to literally make the bank a household name.

They do so through a number of outreach programmes and activities targeting different segments of the population like the women, market vendors, high profile individuals and companies to secondary school students and teachers, among others.

The bank has concluded a one-day interactive meeting held at Paradise on the Nile Hotel in Jinja with teachers selected from 25 secondary and vocational schools from eastern Uganda stretching from Busoga to Teso sub-regions.

The meeting is part of the activities lined up ahead of the 8th edition of the Stanbic Bank-sponsored School Championship which has attracted 100 schools with more than 60,000 students as participants.

Ms Diana Ondoga, the Manager Corporate Social Investment Stanbic justifies the move saying 80% of Uganda’s population is young people below the age of 15 stressing the need to prepare them as they graduate to adulthood.

Ondoga, in an interview disclosed that 40 maiden participant schools have come on board with 57 government-aided schools and 43 privately managed schools  and that the championship will run under the theme; Powering Innovation for Job Creation.

She says winners in four categories will be announced in the second half of 2023 and that the slots per region are as follows: Schools in the Central Region dominate the entries with 25 slots, eastern takes 21 while 18 and 17 slots are captured by the western and northern regions respectively.

During the same function, Ms Patricia Agarukire Mulumba attached to the implementing partners dubbed Team Investors Club stressed the need for stakeholders in the education sector to work closely with each other to monitor and help the learners.

Ms Agarukire who is a life coach counselor with vast knowledge on psycho support clarifies on the widely-held mistaken belief and understanding by members of the public who are always quick to limit the issue of mental illnesses to lunatics who roam the streets in urban centres.

She says issues of mental health are varied and complicated, triggered by substance abuse, relationships, domestic or family related factors, peer pressures, sexual abuses and others which require a lot of wisdom and professionalism in detecting and seeking solutions.

Also in attendance was the head teacher Busoga College Mwiri Arthur Mbalule who has urged school managers to be innovative by creating their own entertainment as opposed to relying solely on TVs and Internet sources, some which have harmful materials to the learners.

Mbalule calls for intensified specialized counseling services in schools saying most students have trauma following the two years when the country was in total lockdown after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Although teachers are counselors by their own right, the soft speaking head teacher calls for specialized counselors in schools to be able to competently offer the much needed psycho social support to the learners.

On the issue of technology, especially the mobile phones and the internet, which are part of the learning tools, Mbalule stresses the need for regular engagements with the students so that there is balance in their usage.

“…you cannot watch TV any time because schools have their set programmes of activities and timetables that must be followed for the smooth management and administration…” he said.

According to Diana Ondoga, Stanbic is committed to supporting and uplifting the communities in which it operates through Corporate Social Investment programme which is focused on the education sector offered to the young people.

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