In Uganda Advantage Africa and SPAU support a group of single parents in Bajjo-Bombo, Luwero District, about an hour’s drive from Kampala. Not long after our partnership with SPAU began in 2004, the group’s members voiced the need for a local primary school for the many orphaned and vulnerable children who would otherwise struggle to access education. A few months later in 2005, with the enthusiastic participation of the local community, building work began. Today there are 250 pupils attending the primary school, the majority from local families living in extreme poverty. The school is committed to inclusion and has disability-accessible buildings and latrines. Despite the many personal challenges the school’s pupils face, their passion for learning and the commitment of their teachers resulted in the school coming in the top 10 for the whole of Luwero District in mock exams taken at the end of 2012.
Early childhood care and education is vital for children from poor backgrounds and helps ensure they start primary school and can reach their potential. In 2012, again working closely with the local community, we constructed Bajjo Hope Nursery School within the Bajjo Community Primary School compound. This now caters for sixty vulnerable young children from the local area. Numbers are rising and at full capacity, the nursery school will cater for ninety children aged from three to five years. It has been equipped with up-to-date early childhood educational materials and has three nursery teachers committed to giving their young pupils the best possible educational start in life. On graduation from the nursery, the children are much more likely to go on to primary school and learn effectively.
With most of the children attending the nursery and primary Schools from very poor backgrounds, it is very important that they receive nutritional support as part of the school day. Many children barely receive one meal a day at home and this has a significant impact on their general health and ability to concentrate in lessons. Currently, porridge is prepared under a tree in the school compound for the pupils to eat at lunchtime. Advantage Africa, SPAU and the local community are keen to build a well-equipped kitchen for the school in 2013 so that nutritious meals can be served and help boost each child’s mental and physical well-being.
Advantage Africa and SPAU are also working closely with the local community and government officials to guarantee the long term sustainability and success of the nursery and primary schools, as well as to ensure the ongoing needs for teaching salaries and resources are met into the future.