OFF TO A CHALLENGING START
Looking on the bright side, bringing YANA Community School to this rural village of Nawanende, Uganda, secondary education is now available to 71 students whom did not have access to such before. Of the 71 students, 9 are currently self sponsored which helps to fund a small part of the school's budget. Ultimately, the ratio of self sponsored students needs to increase in order to build a sustainable nonprofit school model. This is our five year goal. After having closed our 1st term, we are delving into our end of term evaluation. Here's what we learned:
Our Students Face Difficult Issues
- English proficiency - Many students are falling short in their expected abilities to interpret problems, speak and write answers.
- Lagging behind in subject matter - Issues of poverty previously meant that students who could not afford tuition were sent home for nonpayment of school fees. Lack of consistent attendance in their prior schools lead to missing information in building academic proficiency.
- Hunger- This should be enough said in terms of the negative affect on learning. This year, Uganda has experienced famine in almost all regions with the exception of the urban centers. As such, the parents, many whom are peasant farmers, were not able to contribute food for their children's lunch at school. Students look to harvest season during the middle of next term when they can supply their own school lunch.
- Absenteeism - Many students persevered even when they were sick because they did not want to miss school. The most common causes of absenteeism were a result of malaria and menstrual related complications.
- Teacher Resources - Our teachers have improvised and borrowed reference materials and text books on many occasions. This has posed a challenge in planning for class room curriculum.
With no shortage of challenges ahead of us, we remain optimistic, inspired by our ten year partnership with the community based organization, Child Empowerment Program. Together with our collective experience, knowledge, training, education, and a measure of faith, we have put the wings on this airplane as it taxied down the runway this year. Acknowledging the fact that 71 students are attending school and making progress toward a brighter future is no small feat and we can say that we are in flight. With an eight year lease, our site has the capacity to support 250 students but we must first address these issues in order to provide a quality education before expanding this opportunity to the wider community.
Do You Have a Talent to Offer?
Tusubira is recruiting more talent to join our volunteer organization. Commitments can range from ad hoc projects, traveling to Uganda or not, or long term involvement as a board member. Our board members are located on both east and west coasts. Meetings, twice per month, are arranged by video conference. This list isn't exhaustive so if you have a few ideas on how you can help, please shoot us an email or give us a call.
- Grant writing
- Retired teachers
- Legal advice
- Nonprofit international business
- Video & Photography