Poor children, especially orphaned children, are looked down upon, denied basic necessities and ostracized for reasons that they have little or no control over. Access to education, healthcare and vocational training is an avenue for these children to have productive futures. Although more than 4,000 children have been orphaned in Nyakagyezi and surrounding villages as a result of HIV/AIDS, Nyaka remains the only tuition free school in the Kanungu district of more than 200,000 people. In a country where tuition-free education is extremely rare, Nyaka is making education a reality for 118 orphans who would otherwise not have excess to education. Furthermore, Nyaka provides nutrition and healthcare interventions, as well as vocational training for these vulnerable children.
Below is the progress we have made in just three years.
Some example of activities:
* In 2004 Nyaka Anti-AIDS choir was able to take their message to places only within walking distance. In 2005, they have reached 36 schools, 12 churches, 3 mosques and more than 12 public gatherings ranging from women’s day, Independence Day, Labor Day and other District celebrations due to funds for transportation. During these gatherings, they distribute educational brochures in simple English and Rukiga, a local language spoken in the area.
* Beginning this year, we developed a teachers’ training manual which will be used in an annual workshop with Nyaka teachers. Kanugu District Education office requested me to include other teachers in the area in our annual workshops, the first of which was presented in October 2005. Our teachers also attend training at the District and will soon be joining other organizations dealing with orphans and early childhood development in training sessions.
More activities are detailed in the report below. The best is yet to come.
I just got back from Nyaka so greetings from Nyaka kids, staff, volunteers and all Ugandans I met. The children are as resilient as ever, enthusiastic and full of hope. There are 118 students. Two extra girls joined Nyaka because they could not stay home alone while their siblings come to Nyaka Monday to Friday.There are five teachers, a nurse and two support staff (store keeper and night watchman).
Kids get their lunch at school (see picture with blue cups), their uniforms are new and yes because of Steven Lewis Foundation grant, they wear black shoes and socks as part of their uniform. They are the best-dressed kids in the area and that has boasted their efforts in class work.
Nyaka Ant Aids Club also has a new uniform, new costumes and their message has reached more than 30 schools, 12 churches of all denominations and many public gathering including the independence celebrations where they sang on Oct 9th, 2005 in our presence.
Nurse Gloria continues to serve all kids and while in Uganda I contacted the nearest hospital, which will be sending their community outreach personnel to Nyaka once a week to handle cases Gloria cannot handle.
I held a halfway workshop with teachers (teacher’s manual available) where I addressed issues ranging from accountability, Nyaka vision, mission and Beliefs and School rules and regulations.
Finally we now have clean running water in Nyaka community thanks to you who made that possible. I visited all 8 taps and I have a final report that I will send out soon.