Apr 25, 2017

Bringing Water Home

Joshua & the working well
Joshua & the working well

Meet Joshua. He’s 18 years old and lives a 20-minute walk from Arlington Junior School. Last December as he returned home from boarding school, he went to get water for his family at the regular fresh-water well that usually services his village and four other villages nearby. He found it broken and unable to provide clean water for the hundreds of people who normally rely on it.

First, he asked about the local authority’s response to the situation. He was told that the well wouldn’t be fixed until at least next year. But this is so urgent, he thought. So he took matters into his own hands.

“We cannot wait for the government,” says Joshua. “I believe we can find a solution to our own problems instead of waiting for someone else.”

As a student who didn’t have the money to fix the well himself, Joshua tried to get the community involved. He went door to door in each of the villages that gets water from that source. He recommended that each person contribute at least 1,000UGX ( or 30 cents USD).

Going into this initiative, Joshua was very confident that the community would cooperate and give to help themselves.  He quickly found the community members’ reaction to be mixed, and most were unwilling or unable to help.

“It was tough when money was not coming and looking at the budget I drew up, we were far, far below the target,” says Joshua. “I was beginning to give up because people give you negative responses and you think ‘Oh, I should just give back all the money.’ But I had a goal, and I knew it should be finished before I go back (to school). I had read in the newspapers that there was hepatitis and cholera going around, so I knew that if it affected this well, it would affect all of us.”

Walking to and talking to each household took all of December and almost all of January, which was basically Joshua’s whole holiday home from secondary school. By the end of the holiday he had raised enough money to buy three sacks of cement and additional materials and tools. He recruited a local contractor, a local chairperson, and some boys from the surrounding area, and together they mixed the cement and fixed the well themselves.

Today the 80 to 100 families (in addition to the families of Arlington teachers) who use the well again have access to water!  Not only did Joshua help to bring water closer to families, but he also helped prevent a cholera or hepatitis outbreak. He also helped prove to his community what can be done if you work together.

“Working on the well was one of my most happy days on earth,” says Joshua. “It gives me joy every time I pass by it. I am thankful I had the ability to convince other people to do the right thing. I don’t need to build another Arlington, but I believe that it was a small thing I could do for my society at the time.”

Feb 6, 2017

Reading is key at Arlington Academy of Hope

Best Overall Readers
Best Overall Readers

In 2006, the teachers of our sister school, Arlington Traditional School, solidified our partnership by bringing their annual Reading Challenge to Uganda with a theme of “Reading is Global.” ATS’ hope in including AAH in their tradition was to instill a positive reading culture with our students in Uganda to help their educational journey. At that time, Arlington Junior School had a very small 'library' which was a pile of books in the head teacher’s office. Students had to individually visit the head teacher and choose from a small pile of books. As the years passed and more volunteers travelled to Uganda bringing hundreds of books with them, our students got more and more excited about reading.

Fast-forward to 2016 and we celebrated the completion of our 11th Reading Challenge in our own spacious library full of hundreds and hundreds of books and learning materials! With the highest number of books read being 572 and the total number read by all students of 105,896, it is safe to say that our students’ super power really is reading. We could never have seen the growth in our students’ passion for reading and their English skills if it wasn’t for Arlington Traditional School. With countless donations of books, reading challenge materials, support, and even a recent donation of money for books, ATS has really made a positive impact on our school.

In late October, students, staff and community members gathered in our library to acknowledge the dedication the students showed in reading! All the best winners in the reading challenge were awarded gifts for their achievements. The overall best readers were given school bags, pencils, a reading book, and stickers. The top three readers at each class level were also awarded gifts of a reading book, stickers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, umbrellas, and kerosene lanterns. We also awarded the top readers in the “infant” classes, “middle” classes, and “upper” classes with similar gifts to encourage themselves and their peers to keep reading!

P1 students at the Reading Challenge celebration
P1 students at the Reading Challenge celebration


Nov 7, 2016

"I am able to do so many things."


Meet Sam, the newest member of the Arlington family. Not only is he our new Procurement and Facilities Officer, but he is also an AAH alumni! Sam entered Arlington in its first year (2004) as a P5 student. He didn’t know any English and couldn’t read or write in the local language. “But when I went to school, through Arlington, I really changed. I transformed. I am now able to speak and write well in English and Lugisu, I am able to do so many things.”

Fast forward 12 years and he is now a grown man. He’s confident, well put-together and well spoken in both English and the local language. He’s also an active member of his community and he has just finished his courses for a degree in Business Administration from Uganda Christian University!

Growing up, Sam never would have guessed that he would continue his education up to university, let alone get a prestigious job soon after completing his courses, but he doesn’t take it for granted. He knows how much Arlington has helped him out and he wants to make sure that others get same opportunity. “I take this as a very good opportunity. It has opened a world of hope for me.” 

Sam also knows this isn’t just an opportunity to continue his personal and family transformation, but he knows he can use his position as a way to inspire younger students. While working at Arlington and interacting with the students, Sam hopes to “act as a model to them.” He says, “ they are going to see me as a person who has gone through AAH and is now someone who is working. I think it is good, because AAH students will be encouraged to work hard at school … and they will really realize the benefit of having an education.”

Sam’s desire to give back to his community doesn’t stop in being a role model. As the head of the Arlington Old Students Association, he already has plans to also become a sponsor for an Arlington student and to encourage his fellow alumni to do the same. He is confident his fellow students can get together to keep the inspirational change Arlington has instilled in his community to continue.


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