Thank you for your continued support of girls and boys at the Bwetyaaba Primary School. It is making an indelible difference in the life of hundreds of children eager to learn.
A 2013 report published by the World Bank indicated that "Uganda has made strong progress on poverty reduction, school enrollment and child survival, but the quality of health and education services has not kept pace."
Some of the challenges schools are facing include teacher absenteeism, lack of basic infrastructure, and limited access to textbooks. Only 40% of primary classrooms had teachers present - this is in part due to teachers not being paid and taking on other employment to make ends meet. Computers are practically non-existent in the classroom and many schools lack access to viable electricity. Textbooks are also missing in the classrooms, roughly "14% of Primary 4 classes surveyed used textbooks during English and Mathematics classes."
Despite the challenges, children are eager to attend school and learn. In an article published by the BBC News titled Tackling Uganda's lack of school places, "...There's no shortage of energy or ambition among the children. In spartan classrooms, they describe what they want for their future. There are would-be doctors, lawyers and engineers."
There are many efforts being launched to promote and support education in Uganda. Recently, through a partnership between USAID-Uganda, the Ministry of Education and Sports, and Peace Corps Uganda, the first ever Language Spelling Bee competition was introduced in "6 different languages in districts throughout the country." All primary schools were invited to participate. A great way to get communities involved in boosting education!
We look forward to sharing more information about our project as well as the latest on education in Uganda.
And be sure to check out our upcoming fundraiser, the 3rd Annual Backpack Run, benefiting homeless and vulnerable children by providing backpacks and school supplies.
Thanks to your continued support, the girls and boys attending Bwetyaaba Primary School received new backpacks and school supplies to successfully start the school year. In Uganda, the school year starts in February and ends in December. Many children are eager to have the opportunity to go to school and learn. As you can see on the pictures, the smiling faces of the kids receiving the backpacks and school supplies is very telling. "The children were very excited and joyful", says Stephen Ssemutumba, Executive Director of BUVAD. With 90% of the students at the school orphaned or vulnerable youth, buying a backpack or school supplies is simply not feasible. By supporting GBP, you are positively and directly making a difference in these children's lives and providing them with a chance for a better future.
GBP has partnered with Butakoola Village Association for Development (BUVAD) for three years to support the education of the school's 670 students. It has been an extremely effective partnership and has led to the development of a pen pal exchange program with Bwetyaaba students and the the GBP junior volunteers. We look forward to continuing this partnership and invite you to email us with any questions.
Nankabirwa is a six year old girl at Bwetyaaba Primary School. Having lost her mother this year and left to the care of her ailing grandmother, Nankabirwa has found consolation in being able to go to school. She enjoys her time at school learning with her friends. However, since the death of her mother, securing books, pens, pencils and money for lunch has been very difficult. Nankabirwa is thankful to organizations like BUVAD and Global Backpack Project for helping children like her stay in school.
The current enrollment at the Bwetayaaba Primary School consists of 656 girls and boys. Forty-eight of these children have taken their Primary Leaving Examinations and are on their way to join the secondary section. In January of 2014, the start of the school year for children in Uganda, the school will welcome 80 new kids graduating from kindergarten. This will bring the school's enrollment to near 700.
For many of the children, attendance at school can be challenging. Lack of school supplies, backpacks, school uniforms and lunch fees make it hard for them to participate in school. Many of the girls find themselves entering into marriage, inevitably leading them to drop out of school completely. The boys look for odd jobs to supplement their family’s income and acquire school supplies and household items; often times, they end up leaving school to continue working to help their families. The situation becomes worse during the planting season as parents rely on their children to help with the farming and consider this a priority over school. Families are faced with having to choose between food and school.
By providing backpacks, school supplies and uniforms, Global Backpack Project is helping families to not have to make the difficult choice of choosing food over school. We know that education is critical to improving quality of life. Our challenge is to ensure that every girl and boy has the necessary tools so they can stay and succeed in school and life. In the immediate, Global Backpack Project has joined a global movement that is focused on a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. #GivingTuesday is a campaign that celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday 2013. Global Backpack Project will be reaching out to its supporters to take part in this day by donating $25 to help one child stay and succeed in school. We hope you'll join us in this effort.
Stephen Ssemutumba, the Executive Director for Butakoola Village Association for Development (BUVAD), the local organization that coordinates support for the Bwetyaaba Primary School, continues to make progress toward developing a sustainable industry in the Kayunga district.
The Sunflower Project, funded by our fiscal parent C-I-CAN (Collaborative for Intercultural Children and Non-profits), has established a group of pilot farmers to plant and harvest sunflowers for distribution and sale of sunflower oil. To date, the project has harvested 4,200 Kg of sunflower seeds. One of the keys to creating long-term sustainability within a community is developing a better educated community. To this end, Global Backpack Project continues its support of assisting BUVAD in its mission.
Closer to home, GBP is excited to host the second annual Back to School Fun Run, to be held on Sunday, August 25th in Willamette Park in Portland. The boys and girls attending Bwetyaaba Primary School will be among the beneficiaries of the run. More information about the Back to School Fun Run can be found on the GBP website at globalbackpackproject.org.
Please consider joining Global Backpack Project again in our continued support of Stephen and the boys and girls of Bwetyaaba Primary School by making a donation today on Global Giving.
These past three months have been busy with planning and organizing for past and upcoming events!
On March 22, Global Backpack Project took part in a benefit concert held in Portland, Oregon. The concert was produced by one of our local partners, Compound Media Productions. The concert benefited not only GBP, but two other not-for-profit organizations, Using Sport for Social Change and HELP Jamaica. The night was a success and the performers were wonderful.
We are also in the process of planning for our second annual Back to School Fun Run, to be held on August 25th in Portland. If you will be in the Portland area in late August, please join us at the run. We would love to have you there. More information can be found on the GBP website at globalbackpackproject.org.
In 2012, thanks to your donations, GBP was able to support 276 girls and boys at the Bwetyaaba Primary School in the Kayunga District in Uganda by providing backpacks, school supplies and locally-produced uniforms. Although schools in Uganda are free, parents and/or guardians still need to pay for books, supplies and uniforms. In rural areas, such as Kayunga, farming is the primary source of household income and the ability to pay for school can be challenging. Children may start school, only to have to drop-out mid-way because money is no longer available. The importance of staying in school is critical - each additional year of schooling can often increase a person’s earnings by up to 10 percent.
Stephen Ssemutumba, the Executive Director for Butakoola Village Association for Development (BUVAD), the local organization that coordinates support for the Bwetyaaba Primary School, hopes to expand the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Care and Support program to neighboring schools in the district. This would increase aid from 670 children to 2500 children in the region.
Recently, we received a message from Stephen expressing how GBP support has helped the Bwetyaaba Primary School, “We are very grateful for your support. Indeed the GBP donations and support have created a big impact on the education standard and life of the children in this school. Today you find nearly 60% of the children smart and happy at school. The children have a totally different outlook and improved performance both in class and in society. Every community meeting I or my team members attend, you can never miss out a comment of appreciation for this great work!”
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