Helping UGanda Educate
Uganda is a landlocked country located in East Africa. It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the south west by Rwanda and on the south by Tanzania.
Nabugabo is a small rural community situated in South West Uganda on the shores of Lake Nabugabo. It is made up of three villages; Bbale, Bukumbula and Kayugi which together have a population of around 1500 people.
The nearest shops and proper medical facilities are located 20 kilometres away in Masaka. The nearest health clinic is a little closer, in Ssunga, 7km away, but this clinic lacks funding and has minimal medical resources.
Having visited Uganda a number of times and been shocked by the large amount of children out of school especially in poor, rural areas, David and Judy Batten, two educators from Spain, decided to try and make a difference by opening up a free primary school, known as the Nabugabo Community Learning Centre.
In parallel, The HUGE Partnership was set up as a registered charity in the UK to provide financial support for capital and operating expenditure in respect of the development and running of the school and to assist in providing school resources and uniform. NCLC also works in partnership and has active support from Sotogrande International School, The Kindred Project.
The school opened in February 2012 and today has:
The school day at Nabugabo is very different from a typical Ugandan school:
Children in Uganda are in primary school for 7 years (P1 - P7), and then in theory continue through to secondary school for the next 4 - 6 years:
The long term goal of HUGE is to continue the education of all of the children from NCLC through secondary school and hopefully to University or some form of vocational training. Ultimately, HUGE want to support the children in their educational years and enable the children to realise their ambitions.
The Further Education Fund is being set up specifically to support the children leaving NCLC and to ensure that every child has the opportunity to build upon the education they have already started.
There are important factors which impact on the child population of Uganda:
Despite the Ugandan Government's intentions, there are very few free government schools in Uganda. Unfortunately, the demand for free education massively outstrips the availability of places. It is not uncommon for classes to have well over 75 students in one class with nothing in the way of facilities and resources. For the majority of the population, the only option is private school and in Uganda these schools vary enormously in quality.
In rural, remote areas where many families are totally reliant on small scale subsistence farming as their only source of income, poverty is high. Paying school fees is beyond many families especially where they have a lot of children, which is often the case, or when one or both parents have died and the child is cared for by the wider family group. Matters are exacerbated by the fact that on top of school fees there are other requirements including school books, uniform, shoes. A child is sent home if they cannot fulfil these requirements. In respect of children in many schools, if the fees remain unpaid for a term they are unable to return.
Teachers in private schools are disillusioned as they are faced with large class sizes and limited resources or teaching aids. They are poorly paid and if the school fees are not paid, they in turn suffer.