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Aug 30, 2019

15 Years of Celebrating Reading in Uganda!

Teen volunteers introduce Blast Off to Learning!
Teen volunteers introduce Blast Off to Learning!

Now in its 15th year, the Arlington Academy of Hope's Reading Challenge continues to nurture a transformative culture of reading in the students of the Arlington Junior School in Uganda. With this initiative, and the ongoing encouragement of the outstanding teachers at AJS, we are inspiring our students to become life-long learners.

According to Head Teacher Sarah Sabano:

Students have found pleasure in reading books because they are fun to read. Books help them to learn                                 more vocabulary, get new friends and stop boredom. This year’s theme is Blast off to Learning. Everyone is excited              to read more and more books.

On the day of the reading challenge launch, our students participated in numerous activities: naming the planets,              reciting proverbs and poems, singing songs, and even staging a talk show based on the reading challenge. They                  had fun competitions a book search, word puzzle, spelling bee, tongue twisters, dictionary use, skits, arranging                    words to make sentences and other fun activities.

The Reading Challenge is yet another wonderful example of how The Arlington Academy of Hope welcomes the hearts and hands of our beloved volunteers. The program was introduced to AAH by founding board member Holly Hawthorne, principal of The Arlington Traditional School here in the U.S. Former ATS teachers Lorraine Gandy and Lois Grubb have been graciously donating their time and resources for years, authoring and printing original content for the reading challenge activity books each year. Cynthia Margeson - also a former ATS teacher and one of the first Head Teachers for our primary school in Uganda - has been intimately involved in the Reading Challenge from the beginning. This year Cynthia orchestrated a used book sale to raise money for Uganda-bound books.

And finally, this summer's Reading Challenge was successful due in large part to the enthusiastic participation of this year's Teen Trip cohort. This dynamic group of 14 young adults, the largest group of teen travelers to date, traveled from the US to Uganda and spent more than two weeks teaching in classrooms, volunteering in clinics, visiting students and their families, and helping to spread the love of reading to yet another generation of life-long learners.

Mar 28, 2019

Health Clinics Support Education Goals

The Beatrice Tierney clinics were established in 2008 to serve the students at the Arlington Academy of Hope, a well-established school and scholarship program in eastern Uganda. Quickly the clinics became the main source of primary health care in two communities serving over 20,000 patients each year.

In addition to the daily load of patients, one clinic has a maternal and child health unit that serves women and babies. It delivers over 300 babies each year. The other clinic provides treatment and support for over 70 HIV+ adults and children. 

The clinic nurses regularly visit Arlington Academy of Hope school and schools in the surrounding communities to administer immunizations, Vitamin A and deworming medicines to keep the children healthy and focused on school. The clinics also meet the special needs of students, e.g., fitting a prosthetic arm and leg for a young boy; providing special glasses and skin creams for albino children; and addressing the health needs of handicapped children who survived severe landslides in this mountainous area.

 Does it have an impact on their academic achievement? For the past 15 years, 100% of the AJS students pass their national primary leaving exams in a district where the average pass rate is 12%. The young man with the prosthetics and the albino students attend the school.

           The clinics provide an extra bonus to the community: employment. At present, we have 4 nurses, a laboratory technician and a midwife who are graduates of the Arlington Academy of Hope and are working at our two clinics. The clinics also engages community outreach workers to provide health information to families in their homes and through group meetings.

 The clinics support the community in so many ways: improved health of the students and their families, care for special needs children, healthier and stronger learners through better health care and preventive services and employment for students who have risen through the education system and have returned to their communities.

Happy 10th Anniversary to our amazing clinics!


Dec 28, 2018

AAH University Student Joshua: A Shining Example of Uganda's Bright Future

In a country like Uganda, where young leaders are not yet a prominent fixture in the country’s public offices, young people are still finding ways to be politically conscious and active. AAH scholar Joshua is a young person finding ways to make contributions towards progress in his community in every way he can. Recently, the second year law student ran for Guild President, the head of student government, at Uganda Christian University – Mukono.

Joshua has always had a service-oriented streak. In 2017, he tackled the issue of a broken water well in his hometown which we featured on our blog.  By mobilizing the community, securing donations, and recruiting those with the right skills, he fixed the broken water well in just a few short months, a task that would have taken the government much longer to sort.

When running for office, Joshua’s strategy was based on engaging with the student body as much as possible — “via clubs, societies and classes, talking to see what kind of benefit my leadership could bring to them.” The election was on November 3rd, and with 874 votes, Joshua ended in second place. However, he does not feel diminished and still believes in student leadership. For him, “it is about service and the opportunity to mobilize and understand the struggle that many people are passing through.  Student leadership is important to address challenges across academics, security, welfare, and infrastructure,” he says.

While he may not be a part of this year’s student leadership cohort, that will not stop him from serving. “Young people are facing a lot of challenges, and we are the ones who will have the solutions to those challenges,” he says.

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