The girls and boys of Bwetyaaba Primary School will be starting their first day of school today! This is an exciting time for the 672 students who are eager to began their studies. They face so many daily challenges; school offers them an opportunity, a chance to improve their situations.
Most of the children enrolled in school are vulnerable in different ways, they are either orphaned or their families cannot afford to cater for their educational needs. Despite the Universal free Primary Education (UPE) provided by the central government of Uganda, school uniforms, school supplies, shoes, backpacks and several other requirements are often out of reach for many of the children. Many times they find themselves missing school because of lack of these educational needs. This project helps to support and supplement the lack of educational supplies which in turns enables the children to take part in school.
Through your generosity, the students at Bwetyaaba Primary School will very soon be receiving new backpacks, uniforms and school supplies to assist them on their educational journey. The goal is to support 645 students: 343 girls and 302 boys.
Stay tuned for the next update as we report on the children's progress in school and share news of the delivery of backpacks and school supplies.
The Global Backpack Project Team
No matter where they are or where they're from, children love to play and participate in sports. This is no different at Bwetyaaba Primary School. This past October, the students competed in a sporting event, representing their house names (students were placed in different groups). Activities included pealing/cooking bananas known locally as matooke, dancing with used bicycle tires on their waist without them falling off, and the more commonly known and universal, short and long races. As Stephen Ssemutumba, Executive Director of BUVAD, GBP's partner in Uganda, shared, "It was really a marvelous day. The children were very happy." What a wonderful way to bring a close to the school year.
The school year in Uganda will be ending in November and the new school year will begin February 2015. With the generous donations we have received from our supporters, we will be able to send resources to the Bwetyaaba Primary School so that when students go back to school next year, they will be prepared and ready for school. Stephen Ssemutumba expressed gratitude and said that, upon hearing the news, the children were very excited and that the headmistress of Bwetyaaba Primary School extended her sincere gratidute to GBP for its continued support. At the risk of sounding a little cliché, it really does take a village! We thank you for your continued support and for helping to make a difference in a child's life.
The GBP Team
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.
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