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 . . . .
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:
Schools from Uganda and Classrooms for Africa from Western Canada joining together . . .
Joining together to share the happiness!
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!
Migamba Hillside School, Uganda
Excitement on the hill
Open at last!
Welcome to our class!
Teacher welcomes the little ones too
Saturday was clean-up day
Ladies from the community help too
Students work on landscaping
Well done, Project Director, Davis!
Part of the building team
Even Davis gets in on the hard work
Thank you donors from Western Canada!
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
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.
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!
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:
OKWETA PRIMARY AND NURSERY SCHOOL:
ST. FRANCIS PRIMARY SCHOOL:
HOPE COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL - KITCHEN:
ST. PAUL MUSEKERE PRIMARY SCHOOL:
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.
We received this update from Gateway Christian this week. It is unbelievable the perseverance they have had over the last few years - we are so proud of all they have accomplished!
Download their letter, and read their remarkable story, here.
Creamland Nursery and Primary School is a sanctuary to many children born in the Kireka slum in Kampala, Uganda. The parents of these children were refugees from the war-torn north of the country at a time when many villages were pillaged and burned and students kidnapped as child-soldiers to fight in the Lord's Resistance Army. Many people fled to the city, settling in the Kireka area. The inhabitants have struggled against poverty and are unable to provide for their children. The Creamland school was started by a local charity group to help provide education for the children of the area. When Classrooms for Africa visited the school in 2015, the few classrooms on the campus were very inadequate and needed to be renovated or completed. The playground area was unmade, which presented a problem in the rainy season, with water and mud running into the classrooms. Silvacom, a business in Edmonton, Alberta, donated funds to complete the classrooms, making them secure and weather proof and to pave the yard with cement blocks and build walkways. Silvacom staff also held fund-raising events which provided funds for the school to make desks for the students. Pictures below tell the story. Thank you, Silvacom, for making such a significant difference in the lives of these young students!