Despite severe drought in Uganda, rural education programs persevere; 270 boarding students now on full scholarship

Photo: Students at our rural primary school are happy to receive fresh-cooked meals on school days and a well-rounded education not previously available in their village.

Today we bring you important updates from our programs in Uganda. Our farmland enterprise has been languishing due a drought in the area that began in June and is still ongoing. Thus, our plans to plant corn this month have been delayed until we receive rainfall. Likewise, many of our banana trees have dried up partially or completely because of the drought, but thankfully most of the banana trees will revive and be able to produce fruit when the next rainy season begins.

Our inability to farm when there is a drought highlights our ongoing need to raise about $5,000 to purchase a piped irrigation system large enough for our farmland which will be a powerful, efficient irrigation method. Once this system is installed, we will be able to utilize these and other organic crops — such as beans, tomatoes, green peppers, collard greens, eggplants, and watermelons — more consistently, feeding the children in our programs and selling the surplus to boost our programs’ activities.

We currently have 225 girls (ages 13-19) and 145 boys (ages 13-19) enrolled at our high school on our main campus — they have been studying math, English, geography, history, commerce, physics, chemistry, biology, fine art, economics, agriculture, computer studies, and their native language of Swahili since this semester began in February. 100 of our high school students paid the tuition fees for this school year, and thanks to your generous support coupled with the income gained from the paying students, 270 of our high school students are attending school this year on full scholarships.

62 of our high school students have been preparing to take their national exams this month, which is a great honor and accomplishment as they have worked very hard during their high school education. We registered students from both the “O” level (the first 4 years in Ugandan high school) and the “A” level (all 6 years of Ugandan high school). In preparation for the national exams, the 62 registered students have received tutoring, taken pre-tests, and put in extra hours of study. Our other high school students are preparing similarly for their end-of-semester exams in December.

When our high school students are not studying, they enjoy several extracurricular activities they can choose from such as Scripture Union (students can attend Bible study and memorize Bible verses), Debate Club, Patriotism (students learn more about their country so that they can value, respect, and preserve the features of their country), Uganda National Students Association (students discuss issues that pertain to their well-being in school in order to achieve their goals), Scouts and Guides (a club which helps our students develop physically, intellectually, socially, and spiritually while building confidence and self-esteem, learning important life skills, leadership skills, and team-building techniques, and enjoying outdoor activities), soccer for the boys, and volleyball for the girls. The students who excel in these extracurricular activities receive awards and recognition, and the students have a lot of fun whether they are awarded or not.

Our 300 primary school students (ages 3-12) at our rural campus in Mairinya have also been studying diligently for their end-of-semester exams at the end of this month. They have been learning and receiving after-school tutoring in English, math, science, and 2 levels of literacy from our 15 faithful teachers. When the children are not studying, they enjoy playing games together such as soccer, running races and skipping, Ruddo, and Scrabble.

With your support it’s our dream to meet an urgent need in constructing a dormitory for the high school boys — we need to raise $35,000 to buy the construction materials and pay the labor fees. We also hope to purchase recreational facilities such as a swing set, play tunnels, dolls for the little girls, and other such items for all of the children at our rural primary school.

In addition, our primary school students desperately need better access to clean water — the children travel on foot for over two miles looking for drinking water. Therefore we are seeking to raise $6,500 in order to drill and install a clean water well on our primary school campus. We also want to elevate our high school to the level necessary to compete with the larger city-based boarding high schools. Thus, we are seeking to raise $12,000 for a set of 50 refurbished laptops to create an up-to-date computer lab for the students — this is one of our greatest needs at the moment so that our high school students can further excel in their education.

Lastly, our primary school is still in need of 68 new desks which we hope to be able to purchase with your support. We also need to construct 2 new pit latrine toilets (one for the girls and one for the boys) as our old one is full and at risk for becoming a health hazard for our primary school students. We need to raise $6,060 to buy the construction materials and pay the labor fees in order to build both new pit latrine toilets. Our other needs for our primary school are window shutters and screens for the doors, a security fence to surround the property, and electricity.

We are continually grateful for your support which improves the education, health, and happiness of our high school students and our primary school students.

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