It’s over two months now since the schools in Uganda opened after the long two-year lockdown. At first Good Luck Junior School struggled to get the children to return as their parents had got used to having them working in the fields and doing other jobs such as breaking stone to sell to builders to earn a few much needed coins. But with your help to pay the wages, Ibra the head teacher, was able to employ five teachers and together they searched out the parents at home or busy digging and persuaded them to send their children back to school. Numbers have been gradually rising. As you can imagine the children were so happy to be back at school learning and meeting up with their friends again. Ibra said they were so excited with their new classrooms and being able to sit at proper desks. I’m picturing this with a smile on my face!😊
On our behalf Innocent has been to the school regularly and today sent a message. So instead of rewriting them I’m just going to copy and paste them, for you to get a true and direct picture of the situation. I do add a little good news at the end!
Innocent- ‘Today I got to the teachers evaluation meeting at GLJS and one of the challenges ibra talked about was fees payment.
As per today’s attendance ,there are 94 children. Out of the whole number of children at GLJS , only 17 have paid to zero balance , some few children have also made a small deposit. From what is expected from parents as fees only 33.3% has been paid .the challenge here is that when ibra sends the children home for fees , the parents just keep the children home and some take them to the garden to prepare for the rainy season soon coming. In the meeting they also talked of one parent who used to respond very well on fees and has three children at GLJS, this father died of Covid 19 but the widow keeps pleading she pays half so the children can get education but she has also failed to pay a coin of the half .
‘The other challenge they talked was water , teachers were telling Ibra that the pupils especially the lower classes keep asking ; ” teacher water ,water ” but there is no water left in the jerrican, then later on the same issue the cook asked ibra to try get her a water container where they can keep the water .
‘Finally they said thank you to you on behalf of the teachers for the help esp their salary. Ibra then gave me a chance to say a word to the meeting where I just said hello, thanked them for their work and encouraged them to work harder despite the challenges. I also passed your greetings to them.’
He continues – ‘The situation in Uganda is very bad, people here are very broke , Covid disorganized everything . Other than sending the fees defaulters home , he is planning to meet the parents individually in their homes to try and advise them to prioritize for the education of their children even in this crisis just after Covid 19 Lock down.
‘There are no state schools around until you get to the main road to kamuli from GLJS but even in state schools they ask for some fees and the fees at GLJS is not high , 30,000.’
(30,000 is only £6 a term but if you don’t have a job or excess grain to sell, getting even that is impossible for many!)
‘In Uganda we are in a state of learning to live with the situation, the situation that Covid 19 brought. I will give you an example, I invested in poultry with a target that a 3 months I would sell off the birds and get my profits . The birds have now made three months but no market . The more you keep them the more you spend on feeds , and this reduces what I would take as profit . It’s now even being hard for me feed the birds.
Another example is as I type , I am sited in my bar alone with the music playing lights on drinks available but no customers, yet I have to meet my costs . Along all these responsibilities like Norman and Geraldine getting sick come as well . Even as it’s a time of learning to live with the situation, at times there are no shillings to take the learning on .so it is ibra with the parents clearing fees .’
That’s all from Innocent.
I know Ibra and the teachers will be doing their very best to give the village children an education, far superior to that of the government schools, but as you see the parents are struggling to raise the fees, as although 30,000 is only £6 a term, if you don’t have a job or excess grain to sell, getting even that is impossible for many! Uganda has had a very long dry season and the rains are late again so any surplus grain will be being used to feed their families. Hopefully the next harvest will be a good one and things could be better. Life in Uganda 🇺🇬 just as many places around the world is so tough and very unpredictable. I really don’t know how they manage!
Thank you once again for donating to pay the salaries for the first six months. Hopefully things will get better as life improves for the parents.
Obviously we cannot continue to pay the teachers salaries so only time will tell if they can balance their books. It’s never an easy job providing education to the outlying villages but now it seems especially difficult. I do admire the hard work and dedication of Ibra and his teachers.
The good news –
Earlier in February the sow at
GLJS gave birth to five piglets! These are the first offspring of the two piglets we bought for the school to start a pig project to help with running the school.
Also Innocent delivered a table and four chairs to the school that Nico, the young deaf man we sponsored through a basic carpentry apprenticeship, made. These are to be used by the teachers in the ‘staff room’, under the mango tree!
Thank you once again for your interest and support.