Brian Banks is a student who is traveling throughout Africa this summer and visiting a number of GlobalGiving projects. On May 19th he visited "Provide education to AIDS orphans in rural Uganda." When asked what he would tell his friends about this project, Brian said: “Incredible: You need to see this!"
While talking to a couple students about their experiences at Nyaka AIDS Orphans School, we were inspired by their impressive intellect, self confidence, and curiosity which exemplified the importance of this school in their lives. Christine, now in grade 7, lost both parents when she was two months old. Since, Christine has lived with her grandmother. She told us that if it weren’t for Nyaka School, which provides free tuition, uniforms, scholastic materials, and medical treatment (for family members too!), she would not be attending school. Christine is now a leader at her school, as health prefect, she teaches her classmates about proper hygiene. Another student we met, Emmanuel, had a similar story. Today, he is on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor.
Nyaka School serves 214 orphans. Not only does the school offer a superior standard of education (3rd of 143 schools in the area), but it provides students with a happy escape from their usual hardships. We heard, on many occasions, that students would prefer to be at school (learning or playing) than at home. In one of the school’s initiatives, the Anti-AIDS club, students use drama and song to personally evaluate their situation and teach the community about the consequences of AIDS.
Recently, Nyaka School, with the help of GlobalGiving funds, constructed a building which houses the kitchen and dining hall, making it possible to provide two nutritious meals per day to students. The building also contains a clinic, which not only serves the students, but their guardians as well, free of charge. Finally, the building includes a space where students can perform. Here, the Anti-AIDS club performed a play for us early in the day about the struggles of AIDS orphans.
Nyaka School has begun to work with the guardians (usually grandmothers) of their students. The “grannies” program works with 6,000 guardians in the area, providing agriculture, animal husbandry, and income generating tools and training. With the skills they learn, grannies are able to better care for the orphans they are raising. Throughout the day we visited numerous grannies who recently began to keep animals (goats, pigs, etc.), farm, and even make baskets to sell. One granny, Matilda, told us that she was struggling to feed the children and the much needed income has helped her provide for the orphans. Keep an eye out for the Nyaka Foundation’s grannies program which is soon to be posted on GlobalGiving!
While visiting another grandmother, caring for four orphans, we were reminded of Nyaka School’s uniqueness. When we asked the children their names, only one answered right away. He was a student from Nyaka, and he had understood our English. He quickly translated for his same aged siblings who attend the local public school. Hopefully, with continued funding, Nyaka will be able to serve all the orphans in the area.
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