I started today with a delightful email from a school in rural Uganda that we are helping through the CanAssist African Relief Trust. At this remote area near Kumi, the community is trying to improve educational opportunities for students of secondary school age who have no local school to attend.
In Africa, most kids who go to secondary school, attend boarding schools. This is deemed to be a better education as the students are kind of corralled at the school and not as easily distracted by other activities or even household duties demanded of them when they are at home. For girls this is also thought to be more important so that they are not subjected to sexual advances or even abuse. Unfortunately the cost of attending a boarding institution is prohibitive for many.
In some communities there is an attempt to provide day schools when boarding facilities are not close by or out of the financial reach of so many. Students attending these schools sometimes feel like second class citizens. When I visit them I let them know that day schools are by far the most common form of secondary education in Canada and are by no means inferior.
Parents and community members at Kadok are trying to build up classes for teens in their district. They are quite prepared to sacrifice to have their kids become better educated. The school operates out of some temporary buildings and rooms at the back of stores along the village street.
They have had no sanitation facility that can be used by the students at the school (or by others who live along this street or frequent the village for shopping). CanAssist is building latrines to help with this deficiency and hopefully improve sanitation for both the pupils and the community.
This progress report is a real treat to me and I hope that our supporters find it equally delightful. This is only one of many projects currently underway with CanAssist funding.
The total cost of this will be about 20,000,000 Ugandan Shillings ( approximately $8000 Can)
In July, CanAssist mounted a challenge to our donors and were excited with a response that netted over $20,000 in donations, a number that will be matched by the Sasamat Foundation in Vancouver.
The Kadok school will be the first of many communities that will benefit from these gifts to CanAssist. They have already received half of their allotment and today sent photos of the progress so far. Notice that the work is all done manually and with no access to safe work gear.
Paul Abunya reports some of the challenges they have encountered including:
- During the digging of the pit, the bedded rock got blocked reducing the speed of digging.
- Also trucks could get stuck on muddy grounds as we were ferrying building materials.
- It took time for the beam and Nero cement to set. Extending days to put the slab since its rainy season.
- Despite the challenges we have accomplished the following:
- There is overwhelming feelings and support from the community.
- Community has donated more land for the expansion of the school.
- There has been continuous increase in enrolment of students.
Things are moving ahead. Labourers in the community are being provided with some small work, construction materials are purchased locally and eventually the community will have toilets for the first time.
Thank you to our CanAssist supporters – feel good about what you are doing to help.