COVID-19  Uganda Project #46938

Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown

by Kampala Music School
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Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Helping KMS through COVID-19 and Lockdown
Christine working at the front desk
Christine working at the front desk

To our Supporters.

Greetings to you from a very quiet Kampala Music School. Since January, we believed we were on course with things opening up. However, much to our disappointment, Uganda entered into a second wave of COVID-19 infections in late April and through May. As a result, the school’s opening had to be reversed quickly, despite adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures, under which KMS had resumed doing Orchestra and Other programmes.

At first, there were 12days of partial lockdown where offices were directed to work with 20% staff capacity. One to one lessons were able to continue in this phase. However, when the announcement was made that we would be going into a full lockdown from the 18th June, 2021, all music lessons fully went back online.

Schools were ordered to be shut down, and in-person learning was stopped. However, schools were allowed to continue for virtual learning and teaching. When the resumption of in-person learning is still unclear, as we await government guidance on this.

The disruption to KMS operations was massive, almost as significant as the first lockdown. Further, we found that the same students who were unable to take lessons before have not been able to do so again.

Students who had entered for performance grade exams, a new offering by the ABRSM, had to drop out once the total lockdown was imposed. The assumption that students would be able to do these exams from home was made by the ABRSM without thinking about the realities in Uganda, where few students have access to a piano in their homes. Some candidates would have to walk to Kampala Music School to record their exams, something that took some candidates who were able to do so, 1-2 hours either way. Many would miss these exams, and in some cases, at least postpone them till a time when this would be possible.

To add on to all this grief, a member of the KMS fraternity would lose his life to COVID-19. Mr Laboke was part of a core of teachers who were trained by one of our Founders, Mrs Carr. KMS would like to reach out to supporters to support his children and further their musical progress. Although slightly outside the scope of this report, we would like to appeal to our supporters in general to support the Laboke children, To enable them to fulfil their musical potential having lost their father, Mr. C K Laboke.

Atim is a 16 year old who has a passion for studying music up to the highest grade and is determined to do so as she would like to become a music producer and Composer. With her father passing away, her mother could not afford music lessons. Her father was her teacher, catering for all her music needs. She has previously done her ABRSM Grade 1 and 3 Practical and Grade 2 Theory exams.

She is has started having her lessons online and currently working on ABRSM Performance grade 4 and Grade 3 Theory.

Akena, is a15 years old boy aspiring to be in music production in future. He is a brother to Ruth and in his own words, “Music was brought into my life by my DAD who taught me everything I know and what excites me about music is when I am listening to it, I feel inner joy that I can’t explain.”

He is currently working towards his ABRSM Performance grade 2 and Grade 2 Theory.

The government of Uganda was able to give some relief to the staff and teachers at the beginning of the lockdown. This, however, was a one off grant, and the challenges continue.

Uganda is now back into partial lockdown mode, but if this extends further, more support will be needed for both teachers and admin staff, as the school cannot operate fully. In addition, with 2/3 of the school’s population unable to access virtual lessons, most and fall behind in their music education, especially those who virtual education by any means is not possible anyway.

We thank you for your continued support and look to you to keep supporting KMS to enable us to continue the vital and critical work of Developing Talent and Changing lives.

Laboke having first piano lesson
Laboke having first piano lesson
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Joy in singing lesson
Joy in singing lesson

Kampala Music School was finally able to reopen on the 5th of January and this brought much joy. The staff were happy to be working at least some more of the time in the office. COVID-19 SOPs bring a different flavour to it all with some of the school not able to be used for lessons due to social distancing requirements.

“I cannot wait for us to reopen and start learning again. I have not been able to play on a real piano in this period”  Benjamin, one of the bursary students, had been quoted as saying.

About 100 students out of the 400 we had previously, have returned to learning with 70 of these on-site. Teachers are now able to do some ensemble work with their students, something almost impossible to do on the online forums. The pandemic still ongoing and it will be a little while before Kampala Music School will be fully functional as before.

Lessons now happen both online for those that can manage it and now on site. Capacity is still low and some students are still worried about coming on-site and don’t have the capability of studying remotely. However, those studying, are really enjoying the experience of live music-making again. Some of the ensembles have even started to meet again, in restricted numbers but great to make music together again.

For the administrative staff, "we had forgotten what it feels like to work, surrounded by the sounds of music. This is so much better, I feel like I'm working in a music school again."

COVID 19 had some unintended consequences like a sharp increase in travel costs by public means which has created a block for some of the bursary students, and with our restrictions in funding at the moment, we are not able to immediately assist.

Outreach schools are still not open and this is affecting the learning of our students out there as access to lessons is still problematic as we try and work to get solutions to this.

The future, though, for the first time in months, has a bit of a positive outlook about it, but we continue to pray and also thank you all for your support thus far and hope that you continue to walk this journey. More is needed to get back to teaching levels as before and to reach more students, and continue to develop talents, and change lives.

Front Desk Staff ready to receive visitors
Front Desk Staff ready to receive visitors
Handwashing at the gate
Handwashing at the gate
Immaculate sings in her class
Immaculate sings in her class
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Sheila at her desk
Sheila at her desk

We had hoped that Kampala Music School would re-open in September due to the lifting of several of the restrictions, however this was not possible due to some challenges from local authorities Whilst the administrative staff were able to work in a somewhat limited capacity, pupils still could not attend lessons on site. Thus, lessons have continued online for the few who could, but a many people were unable to do this. However there has been an increase in online students such that we now had 20% of our regular student number being able to have lessons.

The funds raised have meant that hardware items could be purchased enabling us to provide online lessons on-site and meant that KMS could continue to run in a reduced fashion at about 50% of all costs for this period.

We are hoping to reopen at the beginning of January 2021, at the time of publishing this report and all Staff, teachers and clients are looking forward to it:

“I cannot wait for us to reopen and start learning again. I have not been able to play on a real piano in this period” said Benjamin, one of the bursary students. Teachers are also hoping that they will now be able to do some ensemble work with their students, something almost impossible to do on the online forums.

Whilst this opening will begin the process of starting to get back to normal, it is clear that with the pandemic still raging, and with Uganda going into an election season, it will be a little while before Kampala Music School will be fully functional as before.

The future, though, for the first time in months, has a bit of a positive outlook about it and we thank you for your ongoing support. 

Assumpta at her desk
Assumpta at her desk
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Assumpta the Accountant at work
Assumpta the Accountant at work

Supporting KMS COVID

With the offices closing on March 24th there as huge uncertainty for teachers and students alike. It was initially for a 30 day period. But then that kept getting extended and looking at the trends around the world, this was going to be no different.

With all activity on campus stopped, the first concern was how we were going to get lessons to keep going. We had a big challenge of quickly swapping over to online teaching, and in the nick of time, we were able to get a few computers for this.

The funds raised so far have enabled us to keep the staff going while also supporting the purchase of a few hardware items that would enable online lessons to be taught including laptops, routers. These funds also helped KMS to continue running in a reduced fashion about 50% of all costs in this period.

Staff members were initially homebound, but as restrictions have slowly been lifted, have come back into office a few days per week. Teaching is still largely restricted and the overall shut down is now lingering on much longer than thought, as the expectation as that we would reopen in September. At the time of writing, no word has come yet from the government about reopening of physical school which renders more strife to our current challenge.

Teachers have been quoted as saying,” the ability to teach online has been helpful, and convenient, but for some of our colleagues, this has not been an option for a variety of reasons.” There remain some who still cannot teach, though this is being addressed bit by bit.” Lessons continue to be a fraction of normal with a few new signups.

We are thankful for the support thus far from you and we ask you to share our story with others so as to garner more support to help us continue to achieve what we set out to do, which is developing talent and changing lives, ensuring that all talent, great and small, gets the best possible chance to be nurtured. We hope to continue to work towards that even though the times are hard.

Sheilla Working on an administrative report
Sheilla Working on an administrative report
JOvia working to link up Teachers and students
JOvia working to link up Teachers and students
Teacher George delivering an online guitar lesson
Teacher George delivering an online guitar lesson
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Organization Information

Kampala Music School

Location: Kampala - Uganda
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KampalaMusicScl
Project Leader:
Julia Downing
Prof
Kampala, Uganda
$26,166 raised of $40,000 goal
 
122 donations
$13,834 to go
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