Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH

by Arlington Academy of Hope, Inc.
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH
Bumwalye Deputy Head Teacher & Head Teacher
Bumwalye Deputy Head Teacher & Head Teacher
The AAH Outreach Program provides training, resources, and materials to 26 government-run primary schools in three districts in Uganda, serving over 20,000 students. As part of these efforts, AAH established a sister school program with US elementary schools. The model for our sister school partnerships between US elementary schools and primary schools in Uganda is the special relationship Arlington Traditional School has with our Uganda school, Arlington Junior School.

Tuckahoe Elementary in Arlington,VA was our second sister school, pairing up with Matuwa Primary School. Tuckahoe has since exchanged letters with Matuwa classes, had the principal and two teachers visit and volunteer, and 20 Matuwa students are now sponsored by Tuckahoe families.

We are exicted to welcome our third sister school, Halley Elementary School in Lorton, VA as a sister school to Bumwalye Primary School! This month, Bumwalye sent more than 900 letters to Halley, and Halley students are preparing their responses. Developing a more intimate relationship between students helps to open each student to the issues, ideas and concerns of their peers and broadens their educational experience. We're confident it's going to be an enriching relationship for all the students involved!
Halley Elementary Vice Principals & Principal
Halley Elementary Vice Principals & Principal

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Matuwa Grade 2 students with AAH & Matuwa staff
Matuwa Grade 2 students with AAH & Matuwa staff

Growing up in rural Uganda and attaining a good education is a big challenge to many, especially those who come from very needy families. Overcoming this challenge has been Arlington’s goal from the start.

In 2004, we opened our school and started educating 350 students in the primary level. We then expanded our program and partnered with government schools to increase our impact. What started as a small program has expanded into the Outreach Program that works with 26 underfunded public schools in Bududa and Manafwa Districts.

In 2016 we partnered with Tuckahoe Elementary School in Arlington, VA to become a sister school to one of our Outreach schools. The relationship quickly blossomed as the principal became a huge advocate for supporting education in Uganda. The Tuckahoe community has helped to fundraise for library books, the construction of a school kitchen, and the school’s feeding program

This year at Matuwa Primary School, seventeen second grade students have seen their lives changed because of the sponsorship program that was introduced to their school this year. Orphans and children from very needy families were identified as in need of additional support to keep them in school and confident about their studies. The Tuckahoe community again jumped to the occasion to help Matuwa by sponsoring these students through AAH.

In addition to receiving school fees, the students were happy to get new books, pencils, backpacks, sharpeners, a pair of shoes, and a pair of stockings. They also have had their meals paid for at school and were given a new uniform. All these supplies have helped these students to stay in school and focus on their studies. The Matuwa sponsorship program wouldn’t be a reality if it weren’t for the strong partnership with Tuckahoe Elementary School.  Thank you, Tuckahoe!

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For the fourth time in five years, Professor Mary Gibson took a group of teacher candidates from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia to Arlington Junior School in Bumwalukani, Uganda as part of her Education Research Methods course.  Their mission was “to provide a workshop for the teachers and then partners with the teachers to practice and implement the workshop techniques in their classrooms.”

On the first day of their school visit, Professor Gibson and her students met with the teachers and students and observed the classes.  The following day, they presented the workshop and worked individually with teachers on the strategies, how the strategies would work in different subjects, and planned what would be tried in the classes a few days later.

Professor Gibson wrote a post for the AAH blog which beautifully described the teacher training experience on this visit.

“A natural connection of people with common goals working together to make them happen unfolded during the week. There was laughter. There was talking among the teacher pairs as to whether or not this was going to work or how to adjust the strategy, so that it would. There was chatter about the subject matter between the students. There was celebrating when what was tried actually worked! Most of all, there was authentic learning on all levels—AAH students, AAH teachers, and Marymount teachers.

That is the beauty of this partnership. We use the power of education to move everyone forward. By finding what is the same, we are able to find ways to address and embrace what is different. I love taking Marymount’s pre-service teachers on this trip, as it encourages them to grow as teachers and as citizens of our world.  It reminds me why I am so proud to be a teacher!”

AAH is incredibly grateful to Professor Gibson, her students, and Marymount University for their annual visits to Uganda to work with our teachers.  Our teachers love having the opportunity to learn and share with the Marymount team.   We look forward to seeing them again next year!

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Anthony K
Anthony K

All last year, our students in their fourth year of secondary school were preparing for their Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) exams.

Students take 10 subject exams and can earn scores of 1-10.  A “1” means the student scored a 90% or higher on an exam, with “2” meaning 80 – 89%. Then, their best eight exam scores are added to get their total aggregate score and respective division. The highest aggregate score a student can get is 8 (top scores of 1 in best 8 subjects), and the worst score is 80 (low scores of 10 in each subject). Scores between 8 and 32 receive a Division I ranking. Students who score an aggregate of 8 are rare.  We offer huge congratulations to our top-scoring students: Godfrey N. (9), Anthony K. (10), and Simon W. (10). We’re so proud!

Across Uganda only 7.5% of all students who sat for the UCE exams scored in Division 1, while 14.1% scored in Division 2. In contrast, an amazing 52% of former Arlington Junior School students scored in Division 1, and 25% scored in Division 2.  

Anthony remembers feeling nervous while heading to the exams despite a history of educational success. “It was quite tricky,” says Anthony. “You always have fear of those kind of exams. After the first two papers though, you get used to them and you feel more confident about taking them.”

Throughout the year Anthony studied for two hours every day, which drastically increased to 5 hours, as he got closer to exams. Godfrey has been Anthony’s desk mate since the 5th grade. The duo would study together and compared notes every day after class to make sure neither missed a thing during the school day. Anthony and Godfrey even want to continue in the same school taking the same subjects as they head to their 5th year in secondary school. In addition to all their hard work, Anthony says he owes much of his success to the Arlington staff and his sponsors for their help and support over the years.

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Bukiga Primary School students & coach
Bukiga Primary School students & coach

The Outreach Program Debate Tournament is an annual program in which teams from Arlington and other outreach schools compete in a series of debates. The goal of the program is for students to improve their public speaking, reasoning, and English skills, as well as encouraging friendly competition among the schools. The first round was held in April and it involved 8 schools, who debated on topics such as “Girls should be given more care at school than boys” and “Schools should not have holidays”. Four schools then moved onto the semi-final round, which was held in July. These debates were very competitive, but eventually Arlington Junior School and Bukiga Primary School emerged as the finalists.

On October 19th, the highly anticipated final match was held at Bukiga Primary School. The motion of the debate was “Education is better than wealth.” As the hosts of the debate, Bukiga supported the motion while Arlington were the opposers. Students from both schools gave impassioned arguments to support their side of the motion. After all speakers were finished, the judges revealed that Arlington had scored 85 while Bukiga scored 72, making Arlington the overall winner!

As the first place winners, the Arlington debate team won a goat for their school. The students were incredibly excited about this because the whole school will get to eat goat meat for lunch next week. The top debater from Arlington, Felistas said that “At first I was so nervous because the proposers were so good and I didn’t know if we would win. But when we won I was so happy.”  Even though Bukiga didn’t win, they were also happy about the program. Faith, one of the debaters from Bukiga commented that “It was so fantastic. I learned that you must make friends and cooperate with students from other schools.”  For the second place prize, Bukiga won a chicken and all participants also received certificates and glow sticks.

Overall, the debaters from both schools demonstrated amazing public speaking skills that impressed the judges and all spectators present. We’re confident that these talented students will be the future leaders of Uganda!

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Organization Information

Arlington Academy of Hope, Inc.

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
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Twitter: @AAHUganda
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Arlington Academy of Hope
Executive Director
Arlington, VA Uganda
$454,662 raised of $521,526 goal
 
1,470 donations
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