We can see one and only way to give Uganda a future and that is through the education of their children. By giving them an education we are giving them a chance to achieve their life goals to become teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers etc. We are also giving them a safe environment where they can ‘escape’ from abusive parents, starvation, poverty, neglect and fill them with happiness, love and hope for the future.
Girls and boys who learn to read, write and count will provide a better future for their families and countries. With improved education, so many other areas are positively affected. In short, education has the power to make the world a better place.
In 2018 we purchased an existing school in Lusanja, a rural community in Mityana district. At the time we purchased the school there was approx. 125-150 students in nursery to primary 7. The students were taught by unqualified teachers who sometimes simply did not show up for work. Teachers were often not paid for an entire term. The building was unfinished, with no windows or doors, mud floors and brick walls that did not extend all the way to the ceiling. There were no safety railings along the hallway and the walkways. There was no electricity so the children would have to rely on one flashlight to move around in in the dark. There were not enough textbooks for the teachers to teach and chalkboards were not functional. Many students did not have basic school supplies like pencils and paper and there was not enough desks and chairs for each student, forcing some to sit on the mud floor. Students only received a small bowl of porridge – for some this may have been the only meal they received for the day. And the kitchen was a small, unventilated room with walls that were black from the smoke and did not have adequate washing facilities or safe and proper access for the cook. Corporal punishment was commonly used
Today we have approx. 300 students, doubling our enrollment in less than a year. We have about 30 boarding students, generally primary 7s who board due to early and late classes, but also some who live far away or whose parents can’t care for them. We provide breakfast and lunch to all students and the boarding students also receive dinner. We have enough desks and chairs for all students and enough textbooks for our teachers to properly teach. Most students now come to class prepared to learn with the necessary school supplies. We employ better qualified teachers, recruiting many from outside the district and requiring all have at least the 2 year teaching training certificate. In fact, in 2018 our school was the only school out of the 6 village district schools that had students earn top grades in the Ugandan national exam. Our teachers are now paid a fair wage and are always paid on time. In addition we provide meals and housing for our teachers; offering these benefits enables us to attract and retain higher quality talent. We implemented a no strict corporal punishment policy so the children have a safe place to learn.
Thanks to our generous donors, over the year we have made significant progress in improving the school structure as well. Our school is now protected against the elements with window and doors. The impact of this goes beyond keeping the children dry during the frequent rain storms; it also protects the desks and any other furniture in the room from excessive wear and it enables us to keep posters or other artwork on the walls, making the school a more inviting and engaging place to learn. In addition, the windows and doors provide safety and security for our students, staff and our property.
Our walls now extend all the way to the ceiling, lessening the noise and distractions in each classroom, and the entire school has been cemented, including the floors.