Albert Valley High School Survey

In 2018 Classrooms for Africa undertook a survey of schools who have received grants over the last ten years. We wanted to know what impact Classrooms for Africa's contribution has had on the schools and their communities. In this blog post we feature the Albert Valley High School in the Ntoroko District of Uganda and share the information provided by the school in response to the survey.

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BACKGROUND:

Albert Valley High School was struggling to offer secondary education to the many vulnerable students in the area which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of the students came from villages too far away to travel each day, so were housed in the wood and mud temporary classrooms. In January 2013, the NGO operating the school applied to Classrooms for Africa for help with funding permanent classrooms and accommodations for the school. 

 Original "Classrooms" - 2014

Original "Classrooms" - 2014

Donors from Western Canada provided funds to build a permanent campus of ten classrooms an administration block and a girls' dormitory. A boys' dormitory is scheduled for construction towards the end of 2018. 

Today Albert Valley High School serves over 250 students.

FROM THE SURVEY:

The school director, Eryeza Kasiringi, reports:
"... after the construction of the permanent classrooms, Albert Valley High School acquired status as a state Examination Centre where national examinations are held annually. Most Albert Valley students perform well in the exams and the school is first in academic performance in the Ntoroko district...".

“ … the school has helped a good number of orphans who would not have been able to study if Albert Valley was never established. Some of these vulnerable orphans and those from very poor background have managed to finish their O-levels and have joined different training courses such as nursing, teaching and vocational and technical training”.

“ … one such student is Carolyne. She is an orphan whose parents passed away when she was 2 years, She was cared for by her grandmother who could not afford to send her to high school. Albert Valley High School decided to fully look after her. She successfully completed her O-levels and went for nursing which she passed very well and is now working as a trained nurse, supporting her struggling grandmother and other relatives. If Classrooms for Africa had not supported Albert Valley, Carlolyne’s skills would have been wasted”....Eryeza Kasiringi, Director   

Well done, students at Albert Valley High School!

The Journey at NISSI

In a small rural village in south-western Uganda is the community school of NISSI Christian Junior School. Elisha is the young pioneer who has blazed the way during the school's journey over the past 3 years. After a long patient wait to be accepted as a possible recipient of financial support through Classrooms for Africa, in June 2016 representatives of the NGO visited the school and found a very large welcome awaiting them. 

They toured the existing school "facilities", listened to eager students singing songs of welcome and met the leaders and teachers at the school.  The school at that time had over 300 students enrolled and offered Nursery through Grade 5.

By the end of that year, a donor was found who provided funds to build the first block of three classrooms, which were completed by June of 2017. Classrooms for Africa representatives attended the opening celebrations of that building. To help furnish the classrooms, Christian school communities in Western Canada collected funds to purchase desks for older students and seats and tables for the youngest students. 

In June 2018, NISSI celebrated the opening of a second block of 5 classrooms with much fan-fare and marching students to escort the visitors who were very impressed to see the growth of the school in terms of enrolment, quality of education and performance of students in state exams. 

The local community is very supportive of the school. Local government officials have donated a water collection tank which is of great benefit during the dry months. In addition, members of the community make the uniforms for students to wear. Thank  you, donors, for making a huge and long-term difference in the lives of the NISSI community.

A Heart-warming Story

In June a team of representatives from Classrooms for Africa and donors made a whirlwind trip to Uganda - visiting 16 school projects in 6 days! They travelled in the east and the west of the country, visiting some completed projects, some projects in progress and some new project waiting to be approved. Opening celebrations at nine of the school were highlights, but Okweta Primary School near the town of Soroti is the focus here. The school was started by a group of parents in a rural community which was struggling to come to life after many years of wars and social unrest in northern Uganda. The local community was given land to start a primary school. The parents and supporters "built" a grass and stick structure which served as classrooms for Grade 1 through 3 students. The school board meetings were held under trees. In 2015 Classrooms for Africa became aware of this needy school and being impressed by the commitment of the community to provide an education for the children, agreed to sponsor the building of permanent classrooms. When donors were found, construction began. Since that time three classroom blocks have been built and this year along with the third block, a kitchen and water harvesting system were officially "opened" with our team in attendance. The pictures below help to tell the story . . . .

                                                                               OKWETA PRIMARY SCHOOL - JANUARY 2015

                                                                             OKWETA PRIMARY SCHOOL - JANUARY 2015

                                                                               OKWETA PRIMARY SCHOOL - JUNE 2018

                                                                             OKWETA PRIMARY SCHOOL - JUNE 2018

Good Things Happening!

In May representatives from Classrooms for Africa had the privilege of visiting 16 of their projects in Uganda, some complete and celebrating, some in progress and some still being assessed for funding.

The team, which included some Canadian Not-For-Profit students, were totally exhausted by their travels and heavy schedule, but also inspired and in awe of what is being accomplished in so many needy communities by the provision of permanent, safe classroom space for the hundreds of students. It is rewarding to see how the local leaders, workers and volunteers have banded together to construct their buildings and take on their projects with dedication and pride. Well done!

Below we share some of the scenes:

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Schools from Uganda and Classrooms for Africa from Western Canada joining together . . .

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Joining together to share the happiness!

Celebration Day!

In our March 2018 blog we mentioned that the construction of the first permanent classrooms at Migamba Hillside Primary School in Uganda was on a fast track for construction, having started in late January this year. Today, April 9, there is much excitement as the doors of the completed building were opened to the students. Classrooms for Africa celebrates with them and the community. Our Executive Director and others will be in Uganda and will attend a formal opening with parents, the local community and officials in May. Thank you to the generous donors who made this facility a reality, bringing much happiness today and a safe permanent learning environment to the students for many years. Well done, local project director, builders and helpers. A true community effort!

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Migamba Hillside School, Uganda

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Excitement on the hill

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Open at last!

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Welcome to our class!

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Teacher welcomes the little ones too

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Saturday was clean-up day

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Ladies from the community help too

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Students work on landscaping

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Well done, Project Director, Davis!

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Part of the building team

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Even Davis gets in on the hard work

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Thank you donors from Western Canada!

Some Classroom Building Projects in Progress

Now that the new school year in Uganda is underway, some schools also have construction of much needed new permanent classrooms underway. Below are a few of the projects, funded through Classrooms for Africa, which are under construction. There are expected to complete by mid-year!

Migamba Hillside Primary - first permanent classrooms at the school, which serves over 500 students. Project started: January 30, 2018 : Completing by: April 2018


Okweta Nursery and Primary - third permanent classroom block, this time including some administration space. Project started: February, 2018 : Completing by: June 2018


NISSI Christian Junior School - two more classrooms to complete the second permanent classroom block at the school. Project started: July, 2017 : Estimated completion by: June 2018


Mother Kevin Nursery School - second floor, to contain 5 more permanent classrooms for the young students, many orphaned and others from the surrounding slum area of the city. Project started: August 2017 : Completing by: June 2018
 

The Graduates!

Many schools in Africa begin their 2018 school year in late January or early February. By then the students who wrote examinations at the end of the previous year have received their long-awaited results and can proceed to the next grade.

One of the serendipities of building permanent classrooms, which Classrooms for Africa and its donors have witnessed, is the improved level of performance by students who have improved classrooms to study in.  

Many of the schools have reported an improvement in their students' performance on the state exams. One school wrote:  "The term one of 2018 is about to start on 5th Feb 2018. it is a busy time and we are excited with what god has for Vineyard in 2018.  We are expecting enrollment to increase to over 400 this year. This is also coupled with the fact that Vineyard ranked amongst the best five schools in Teso region in the last national exams."

Another reported that "The results of Primary Leaving Examinations came out and our pupils managed to perform well we managed to obtain first and Second Grades only".

A third writes "In S.3, who are the S.4 candidates in 2018, had 4 students in 1st Grade with aggregate of 20 points, the second with 22 points, the third had 26 points and the Fourth has 30 points. The majority of the S.3 students passed in Grade Two and Three respectively. Few are in Division Four and only 2 students have failed and cannot make it to S.4 next year. The results for S.2 and S.1 are all showing improvement in teaching and performance."

Below are some photos of graduates from just a few of the schools Classrooms for Africa has been privileged to assist by providing permanent classrooms and learning spaces.

 

 

The Journey at Matere Model!

Classrooms for Africa was first introduced to Matere Model Nursery and Primary School, Uganda, in November 2016 when a team of our representatives and donors visited the remote mountain-top community. After a harrowing journey in a truck on a road especially fashioned for the occasion, the team plus local school leaders arrived "at the top of the world" in the Ruwenzori foothills. A very warm and melodious welcome awaited them all! A further trek by foot up the hillside brought them to some partially built rooms which, together with shady trees, comprised the classrooms of the 4 year old school, run by the Church of Uganda Diocese. Most of the over 220 students were on hand in their bright orange shirts. Touched by the enterprising spirit of the administration and the lack of resources to provide an adequate learning environment for these children, some of the visitors determined to help answer the desperate need for safe and secure classroom accommodation. By mid-2017 they were ready to donate to the project and the ball was set in motion to start the building process. A team of volunteers from the local community had been busy making bricks by hand for the project. By January 2018 a new classroom block was ready for students to start their new school year. Classrooms for Africa hopes to be on hand when the building is opened soon. The dream is to see a second classroom block built later this year. Thank you donors for making an amazing difference in the lives of these beautiful children! The pictures below help to tell the story, including the happy and exited students on their first day of the 2018 school year! 

From BEFORE to AFTER this year!

As 2017 nears its end we look back and see just a few examples of Classrooms for Africa's efforts this year to make a difference in the lives and education of some African students in sub-Sahara.

Check out the before and after images! We say a huge THANK YOU to the faithful donors who have made this happen.

NISSI CHRISTIAN JUNIOR SCHOOL:

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OKWETA PRIMARY AND NURSERY SCHOOL:

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ST. FRANCIS PRIMARY SCHOOL:

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HOPE COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL - KITCHEN:

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ST. PAUL MUSEKERE PRIMARY SCHOOL:

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Busy as ever . . .

As the end of the 2017 school year approaches in the countries where Classrooms for Africa is involved, we reflect on a very busy year once again. In South Africa two completed projects were celebrated. In Uganda, during the course of 2017,  we built the equivalent of 30 classrooms in 10 schools! Thank you to our donors and supporters who made this possible and who have made such a difference in the lives of over 1,200 disadvantaged students. Below we see some of the fruits of the hard labour of the teams of local builders in Uganda.