What we’re working on now
The Challenge: Education in Uganda
The education system in Uganda is quite different from what you see in developed nations.
In order to attend school, students must pass entry exams and pay school fees in advance of each term. Classes are based on an assessment of the student’s ability, as opposed to their age. Therefore, there is often a broad age range working at the same ability.
If a pupil does not pass their year or cannot pay for the entire year, they must repeat that year, paying full fees again.
Understandably, instead of repeating school years and paying more school fees, many children are compelled to find work in unskilled labour in order to generate an income.
Family income in the Kibuye area is low and therefore school fees are beyond the reach of many families, to say nothing of raising funds to establish schools.
Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School, Kibuye
With both international and local support Arise and Shine Uganda is making great strides with its first community project in Kibuye Village, Kamuli.
In Kibuye village, we have been able to build a school with 6 classroom blocks, each with 3 classrooms.
Each classroom has a capacity of 50 children, although we prefer 25 children per classroom. This ensures quality of the lessons and a good ratio of teachers to the children so each child can get their much-needed attention from the teachers.
The school accommodates over 500 students ranging in age from about 4-12 years old, coming from financially struggling families. These are children who cannot afford school fees anywhere and would have missed out on education.
Alongside the Ugandan academic curriculum, AASU involves these children in vocational skills like tailoring and weaving, all to prepare these students for life after school just in case they don’t progress academically as they wish.
In Kibuye, the majority of children that are not educated are girls.
Girls are often viewed as being of a lower status than boys and more useful either being either given in marriage for the bride price, or put to work in order to provide an income for the family – often to send their brothers to school.
AASU is addressing the issue of girls’ education, first by having affordable or waived school fees, and also more gradually through community education sessions regarding the rights of women and girls.
Sharon, our founder, is a village girl herself, and she is a great example of the opportunities an education can bring to girls when you give them a chance!
AASU has been holding meetings throughout Kibuye and will continue to do so, addressing the importance of education for both boys and girls. Since our intervention, we notice that the ratio of girls to boys in school is slowly fairing up and we are enrolling more girls with each term.
Linking with Schools in Developed Nations
AASU is currently in the process of linking Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary school, Kibuye, with schools in developed nations. As well as providing essential funds for AASU projects through fundraising events, school links can be great educational tools.
By incorporating the link into lesson for subjects such as global citizenship and mathematics, school links can provide a human connection to different cultures and communities. They also provide an excellent opportunity to apply skills such as young enterprise projects selling AASU beads.
AASU will support school links in any way possible, facilitating correspondence between students, assisting with fundraising projects, providing project information and where possible sending an AASU representative to visit your school. For further information regarding school links please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arise and Shine Emergency Transitional Care Centre
AASU operates an emergency transitional care centre for children in vulnerable situations. These children are usually those abandoned or at risk of abuse, those that are being abused, and children that have separated from their parents. The centre has 11 trained care givers who are always ready and waiting to give immediate attention and care to these children.
Community Based Foster Care Project
At Arise and Shine Uganda, we believe that every child should grow up in a loving and caring family. Family is the fundamental unit of society that provides a natural environment for the growth and development of children.
We have for the last five years worked with over 1000 families in the Districts of Jinja and Kamuli to ensure that families can independently sustain themselves and remain together.
At the same time, we work with separated families to reunite and reintegrate children with their parents. In our efforts to keep children in safe and loving families, working with the Kamuli District local Government, AASU established the community based foster care project in Kamuli District.
We provide family care for children that are totally abandoned by their families and those that cannot immediately be reunified with their families.
To date, in collaboration with the Kamuli District local Government, we have assessed, trained and approved 30 Prospective foster parents. So far, five of them have been placed with vulnerable children.
Our foster care program’s first target sub county is Kagumba, and the aforementioned 30 foster parents have been identified from the four parishes of the Sub county.
Arise and Shine Uganda is proud to provide adult education opportunities for men and women who have either never attended or never completed school. By providing basic literacy and math classes, along with vocational skills training and language classes, AASU hopes to be to be able to assist Kibuye to develop as a community and to be able to interact and trade with other communities across the country. Those within Kagumba have shown great interest in adult education, and many villages are receptive.
Community Sensitisation and Advocacy
Arise and Shine Uganda conducts community sensitisation programmes and hopes to be able to develop these as opportunities arise. There are many issues to be addressed such as the rights of women and girls, domestic violence, health (particularly regarding sexual health due to the culture of polygamy that increases individuals’ exposure to STDs), hygiene, diet and nutrition.
In order to provide the highest quality community sensitisation sessions, AASU uses trained professional volunteers from in and outside Uganda to partake in its programmes. We also partner with other established organisations dealing in areas that our community needs to learn about. For example, in the past we have partnered with TASO to undertake HIV/AIDS sensitisation, testing and counselling. We have also partnered with DIG International to train our farmers in new and modern farming skills.
A simple but life-changing thing: Clean water!
Arise and Shine Uganda has been successful in providing clean drinking water for the school and community at large. Using local craftsmen and builders we have drilled a well that is providing clean and safe drinking water to Kibuye.
Prior to the installation of AASU’s well, the population of Kibuye depended on only one well for safe drinking water. However, as many would end up walking long distances and queuing for a long time in order to access the only well, they would often choose the much quicker alternative of fetching non-potable water from the Victoria Nile, upon the banks of which Kibuye lies.
AASU hopes that by providing a second well for our school and for the village at large, we will help to lower the number of water-borne illnesses and even deaths in the village.
Family Preservation through sustainable income
Arise and Shine Uganda takes great pride in this program! Children belong in families and families should stay together.
We have led this cause by introducing income generating activities for our target communities and encouraging vulnerable families to engage in such activities so as to earn a sustainable living.
Because of this success, we have seen great success in our reintegration programs, with over 90% successful reintegration of children from our emergency care centre, to their own biological families or extended families.
Projects that have made better livelihoods possible
Tailoring, Weaving, and Bead and jewelry making.
The tailoring project currently hires 35 women, the weaving project has 10 and the bead and jewelry project has 32 women. Most of these women are from Kibuye village.
These women are foster parents, single mothers, or ladies from financially struggling families with children at risk of getting into institutionalised care.
They are strong women, taking the lead at improving family life in the community. They are changing their narrative from women who mostly depended on subsistence farming to strong, brave and motivated salary earners through their own artisanship.
If you are considering helping Arise and Shine Uganda, consider hosting fundraising events by selling the beautiful products of these strong women!