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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.

Oct 2, 2018

AJS Competes in Regional & National Music Competitions

Some say that it takes a village to accomplish many great things, and in the case of the Arlington Junior School pupils, the saying rings both literally and metaphorically true. In late August, schools from around the region convened at Bududa Secondary School for the regional singing competition. AJS earned a spot at regionals by placing first in the zone, sub-county, and district level competitions.  

This year, both the pupils and the staff exhibited an extra level of passion and commitment. Music supervisor Teacher Edith led the weeks of training before the competitions and recruited some of the best trainers the district had to offer. Teacher Diana led the kids in drama, poetry, and storytelling; Teacher Frank who had previously trained the first place regional winners for three years running also shared his skills as did Teacher Wellbon, a civil engineer with an infectious passion for the arts who has trained students to reach nationals for four years running! During the rehearsals, Teacher Wellbon could be seen swinging his arms as he directed the singers and instrumentalists to one of the most memorable performances of the competition. 

Over two days at regionals, students engaged in singing, dancing, acting, poetry recitations, and instrument playing.  Their weeks of training saw them emerging with a second place win! Their scores across all the categories qualified them for the national competition.  Given their fifth place placement in last year’s regionals, theirs is an amazing accomplishment.

The community trooped out to offer the students support including Head Teacher Sarah, Teacher Amos, and others. “We are confident in their capacity,” one of the teachers said. Well predicted, indeed. As the students then took a rest and soaked in their well-earned win, the staff had their minds on nationals. Of it, Teacher Wellbon says, “We cannot underestimate other schools. They are preparing, but we are preparing.” Call it a victor’s joy, but the pupils were more optimistic. “We are going to smash the competition!” many of them repeated, gleaming. 

And smash it they did!  After a hectic ten-day finale at nationals, AJS returned with tenth place, a step up from their fourteenth place position last year! AAH Program Director Milton Kamoti congratulated the team and thanked everyone for their efforts and contributions, stating that the efforts to give the students access to better trainers paid off. Teacher Edith also expressed joy at the outcome and gratitude to all the hardworking students who are now headed home to enjoy the term holidays.

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Jul 3, 2018

Financial Independence for Jennipher

Jennipher (center) with two visitors in Uganda
Jennipher (center) with two visitors in Uganda

In addition to empowering youth in rural Uganda, AAH gave a natural humanitarian the financial independence she desperately needed.

As Jennipher, the AAH Guest House Manager, reflects on her time with AAH, (ten years in 2018), she sits on the arm of a couch, smiling. Throughout the conversation, it is obvious why she is such a good fit for the organization. Every time the subject of children comes up, either hers or the many she taught while she worked at the Sunday school in a Bududa church, her face transforms immediately. Her teeth show, her pitch elevates and when she says “I like children and children love me”, it is with total honesty and love. She talks about spending some of her pocket money to buy sweets for the children she used to teach.

Not long after she was contracted by AAH for domestic work, she took up managing the guesthouses unofficially until the position was offered to her. She constantly remarks on the ways working at AAH has changed her life, particularly with giving her the financial independence she needed. Since earning a salary from the organization, she has been able to build her own house and send her children to school two boys one of which is in secondary school four, and the other who works as a mechanic.

For anyone interested in becoming involved, she encourages them to take a trip to Bududa and see “with their own eyes” the good work the organization has been consistently doing.

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