Secondary Education Support for Vulnerable Girls (Funded by Global Giving)
Report compiled by Aloyo Innocent Jessie, Project Leader: River Fund HIV/AIDs Family Support Women Association, Kitgum.
River Fund Volunteer and Senior Woman teacher holding a mentoring meeting with beneficiaries.
The River Fund HIV/AIDs Family Support Association is a Community Based Organization (CBO) founded in 2007 by committed and motivated women to contribute towards improving the quality of life of persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, through educating and empowering the women and girls on HIV/AIDs Long Term Survival Skills and sponsorship and mentorship of girls in schools, economic empowerment and livelihood food security enhancement for a sustainable development for self-reliance through seeds provision, training in kitchen gardening and support to malnourished children through provision of trainings in provision of nutritious meals, and provision of basic items like soap, sugar, cooking oil, salt.
The organisation envisions a just and caring society where people yearn to help one another and realize that every human being is connected to one another for a change in the world with values such as: sharing, Love, Non-Discrimination, Humility, Peace, Non Violence, Justice, Inclusiveness, Service, Dedication, Honesty, Transparency, and Compassion.
Activities carried out this quarter.
- Career guidance provision by academic masters to the students
- Mentorship of the students by mentors and the project leader
- Provision of sanitary towels to the beneficiaries.
- Identified 21 vulnerable girls who are all benefiting from the scholarship.
- 21 girls supported in Career guidance by the academic masters in which subjects they must concentrate on to achieve their desired careers.
- 21 girls supported with Sanitary towels; 3 packets each for term II.
- Conducted follow up meetings and mentorship with 21 beneficiaries to discuss about challenges that may hinder good performance in school.
- Transport to and from the project sites is yet another of the challenges being faced. River Fund does not have a reliable means of transport and hence relies majorly on hiring motorcycles to facilitate field activities.
- The government’s move to increase taxes on almost everything that affects life in a bid to increase its resource envelop has also created some challenges as prices of items including fuel for transport have gone up creating a challenge in the budget relocations
- Overwhelming demand since there are many girls with similar vulnerabilities that need support.
- Close involvement of the teachers is key to project success as they help in the beneficiaries’ career guidance and mentoring.
- Closely involve and work with the parents and or guardians of the girls.
- Close monitoring and follow up at school by project leader is key in fostering mentorship of the girls
Term II begun well with all the supported students returning to school within the first week of new school term. The term had a lot of extra –curricular activities like sports which the students were engaged fully in despite their normal class activities. Amidst all the different engagements, the students continued with their education. The project leader made monitoring and mentorship meetings with the students and mentors in their respective school. Those in senior four class went for a study tour/field trip organized by the geography department
We are so thankful to global Giving and the Riving Fund for this support. We could not have done this without all of your help!
“Rescued from dropping out of school”
Orphaned Victoria aged 18 years was rescued from dropping out of school after her father was killed by the rebels and mother arrested over land conflict. Her love for education and hard work earned her sponsorship under Global Giving grant from the River Fund. She emerged as one of the best students in term I exams from her school in 2015 due to mentorship and counseling support provided by the staff of the River Fund and her mentors in averting her emotional trauma and feeling of hopelessness. She has dreams of becoming a teacher after her senior four.
Attached is her full story.
Note from Jaya Canterbury-Counts:
Land conflicts are common in the Acholi Region of N Uganda. After nearly 20 years in IDP Camps, refugees returning home encountered many and ongoing land ownership conflicts. As is often the case, children suffer most.
GIRL CHILD EDUCATION
The power of a Scholarship.
My story, my life.
I am a student of Msgr. Antoni Vignato School in Kitgum district in Uganda. I was born in 1997, on 24th Dec. My name is Victoria a student of S. 3. I did not go to a nursery school because the school was far away from our home. When I was four (4) years, I was taken to Kampala to look after the baby of my Auntie’s daughter. My mother accepted to let me go because she thought that they (my Auntie) would provide for my education. So I stayed two years without any sign of going to school let alone any discussion about my education. After two years, they got a sponsor from Europe for me. I started my P.1 to P.5 from a school in Kampala called Omega Primary School. But when my sponsor went back to their home country, she left the authority of my fees in the hands of her husband. Before leaving, she told me that the fees will be sent to my husband every school term but this was not the case. Her husband converted the use of the money for his personal gain and I had no voice since I did not have any contact as it was removed from me.
When I reached P.6, another person was paying my fees from Canada and this money was passed through my Auntie’s daughter. So the money for my school fees was shared among three more children who were studying in better schools in Kampala. When I reached P.7, my Auntie decided to bring me back to the village claiming there is no body sending money for my fees. She tried to pay my fees even after bringing me back home but stopped since she had used the money for my fees for paying her children’s fees. I was left to suffer without education. My mother being poor, old and a widow had no money to pay for my education. She grows crops and keeps animals in order to enable me stay in school. My dad died when I was still a baby and my mother is a single parent. My brothers and sisters did not go to school because of lack of money to pay for their education so they are peasants.
As the New Year was approaching, the Primary Leaving Examinations result was released and I was in division 1 with 11 Aggregate. I was filled with joy and excitement of joining secondary education although at the back of my mine I knew there was no one to support my education. My mother sold all the harvests from crops grown in order for me to join Secondary School. I wanted that at least in my family, I join secondary education since it is isolated with illiteracy and had no future and because my people –relatives thought that I would never make it.
When I joined S.1, in Second term, I was under a scholarship until S.2 term III. As I was joining S.3 this year, there were some people who were conflicting with my mother over land. But when my mother refused to give away the land belonging to my grandfather, she and my brothers were arrested and taken to prison. I had to stay at home alone since my elder sisters are all married and in their homes. I had to cope up with the situation although I would cry all the time as those who arrested my mother would constantly tell me that my mother would never be released from prison. When the term I 2015 begun, I had no hope of continuing with my education. I had made a decision to stay at home since my mother who used to struggle and pay my fees was now in prison but one of my cousin sisters advised me to go to school as I wait for my mother to be released. I did not even have any requirements to take to school and was hopeless. I neglected myself as being useless. My mother sent words from prison saying I should stay at home this year and wait to join next year 2016 may be when she is finally released from prison. This made me feel very bad and wished that I had never been born to suffer in this world. I wondered why I have never been happy even for once in my life.
I had to comfort myself with help from my relatives and friends and I decided to go back to school as a day scholar commuting from one of my Cousin’s home in town although with no much hope. When it was approaching mid -term examination, the school needed money for fees paid which money I did not have. Before this, I was picked among the best ten (10) students by the Exams master on ground that our fees would be paid. I had mixed feelings thinking that such a thing could not happen to me. The next day I was sent home together with some students who had not also paid fees. I went straight to the village although I knew there was no one at home. I continued cultivating our gardens in the absence of my mother.
After two weeks, the clan members contributed money in order to pay for my mother to be released from prison and come back home. I also sold some harvests (food stuff) that was in the granaries to add on the money. All I was wishing for was my mother coming back home and not education any more. She was bailed out (a prisoner from out) and was to continue reporting to police. This made me happy although I knew she would be taken back to prison anytime. This same week, the school was announcing on radio searching for me to go back to school. I heard my name but wondered what the school wanted with me. The head teacher and senior woman teacher were searching for me and any contact to reach me. After two days, I came back to school with my uncle who was called on phone by the head teacher to bring me back to school. On arrival, everyone was happy on seeing me and my teachers were even happier. While in office, I was told that my school fees had been paid for the whole year (term I –III).I could not believe this. I thought it was a lie but the head teacher and senior woman teacher were just laughing. It was a shock to me and the thought that I would study this year never crossed my mind till then. I was so excited to be back at school and felt I had a comforter, provider and guardian just near as I sat there in the office although I had missed the exams I consoled myself saying next time better.
With this I now have hope that my future will be bright and I trust and believe God will bless my plan of becoming a teacher. Thank you so much River Fund and all who are supporting you to reach out to people like myself! I shall forever remain indebted to this generosity.
Girls receiving sanitary towels
Students listening attentivelyAttachments: