During our recent trip to Kabale, south western Uganda, we visited the Graeme Naish Memorial School, a little village school that we have supported for several years about 25 miles out of town. That may not sound like a long distance, but with the rural road system it takes just over two hours to get there by 4×4 vehicle, and then only if it hasn’t been raining!
As always, we got a wonderfully warm welcome and it was wonderful to see how the community has helped to improve this little school. From having three classrooms spread out over three different huts, they now have four classrooms and two boarding rooms built on a piece of land that we bought and lease to the school at a peppercorn rent so that their school is secure.
Currently eight children are sponsored at the school through Alongside Africa but there is a long waiting list for more. If you would like to make a real difference to a disadvantaged child in a rural community visit our Web site at www.alongsideafrica.org.
Whilst the school has minimal facilities by UK standards (the classrooms don’t even have doors yet and the walls are made of mud), it has a growing reputation in the region and we were amazed to see that the enrolment over the past year has increased from 60 to 90 children, all from poverty stricken families.
We were impressed to find during our visit that some parents who could not afford to pay the very low school fees for their children were involved in repairing classroom walls, paying in kind rather than in cash. It is this community involvement and self-help that encourages us to continue our support of the school.
Whilst we were at the school we handed out dozens of pairs of reading glasses donated from the UK. It was wonderful to see the look on a woman’s face when she put on a pair of glasses and could suddenly read again for the first time in many years. Such moments are precious and make us remember not only how fortunate we are in the so called developed world, but also how privileged we are to be able to do this work.
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