Addressing the problem of AIDS orphans is a daunting task, but the Nyaka School has taken on that challenge and is proving what a difference a small amount of money can make on so many lives. In the Southwestern Ugandan village of Nyakagyezi, the Nyaka School provides free, high-quality primary education, social activities and basic healthcare to orphans whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS. Nyaka brings the community together to provide these children with a family atmosphere that will impart self-confidence and values that will significantly increase their chances of reaching adulthood as healthy, functional members of society.
In government-mandated exams, our students consistently test above the district average. Our health interventions have improved the daily existence of many of the students, allowing many to attend school on a regular basis for the first time in their lives. Our community gardens have provided food for more than 200 families in the area, including student foster families.
We have increased the number of orphans we serve by at least 25% each year, yet hundreds more are turned away due to limited resources. Expanded, recurring financial support will allow Nyaka to serve a greater proportion of the large number of AIDS orphans in Nyaka and surrounding areas.
Words from one of the 116 students
"When my dad got so sick, my mom sold all the cows, goats and chicken to get medicine but the situation was not getting better. Then my uncle suggested that we sell all the land, which we did, we live in a hut with my two sisters. When it rains we stand in the corner and wait for the morning to go to our school Nyaka. Without Nyaka I would be working for food everyday."
I came away from my visit to Nyaka with a whole new sense of the strength and warmth of Africa. What you are all doing for these children is wonderful beyond description. You and the teachers have succeeded in such a special way---the children are indeed SO happy. And how they sing and dance! They are so amazing. And so are the teachers. It made me cry just to see those wonderful children.
To that I can also add:
It is very heartening to see Africans making all this happen through their own ingenuity and dedication. Nyaka is a great model for how the African diaspora can mobilize support and work with their partner villages in Africa to make a difference in the lives of so many people in need.