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
James and Millie won govt scholarships to college
James and Millie won govt scholarships to college

When AAH Co-Founder John Wanda and his brother were in college, they were the only people from the village who had made it that far. This week, we have over 70 students headed off to campus (including first, second, and third year students)!   This is a remarkable number of young people who are gaining the skills and background to prepare them for jobs after college.  To help them gain experience, we also encourage them to work, intern, or volunteer in between school terms, to gain "real world" experience.  This year, for example, students interned at AAH and also were teacher's aides at a number of local public schools that we assist.  We believe this helps students determine what they want to do for a career and also helps them stand out when applying for jobs.

It's not just formal universities though. A number of our students have opted to go a vocational/technical route to gain job skills. We have several in nursing school, teachers colleges, and engineering.  All are good options for Uganda's economy.

We got some wonderful news on two exceptional students. James and Millie scored very high on their college entrance exams and got full college scholarships!  Both will study engineering and are special indeed. Millie had a sponsor throughout her studies, but James was unsponsored and covered by pooling donations from child sponsors and supporters.   James said he was "so very grateful and that he owuld be able to help his family and others".  Millie was estatic and grateful too, saying that "going to school has changed my life and that of my family".They - and our other students are making a difference in the lives of their families and communities too.

Speaking of university-bound students, we were saddened to learn of the death of a young woman who would have been a freshman at the University of Notre Dame this Fall, Rebecca Townsend. Rebecca had organized a high school group that sponsored a little girl named Joy at our school. She was an extraordinary young woman who touched so many in her short life. Check out the link below to learn more about Rebecca.

Thank you so much for being a part of AAH, and giving these children a future.

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Amos just got a new prosthetic leg!
Amos just got a new prosthetic leg!

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Our primary school and secondary school students are back at school and studying hard.  This year, we have increased emphasis on math and science to help students gain the background and skills the workforce in Uganda seeks.  The materials for the Annual Reading Challenge are being prepared for each grade at the primary school.  The Challenge, which begins in July, will incorporate some math and science topics as well.

We believe in well-rounded education, including physical education. We're thrilled that thanks to some very special donors in the U.S. and the U.K, we have at long last been able to get construction equipment to the remote mountain village to make the school field safe. It was fill of rocks and a very uneven surface which led to injuries. 

On a related note, 18 of our primary school students won at the district track and field event and went to Nationals in Lira! Competition was tough but it is a great experience for the students, and winners receive a point that helps them get into University. The results are not yet known but we're wishing them luck!

We have partnered with Asante Mariamu and Restore International to deliver key vision and educational tools for students with albinism, so they can go to school.  Every child deserves to go to school.  We also have two schoolchildren with serious medical needs --  Amos lost an arm and a leg in an animal attack as a small child, and seventh grader Miriam is battling leukemia. We hope that both can be back at school soon. Check out our website or Facebook (Arlington Academy of Hope) for more details.

And on the outreach front, we are providing training, books, and some school supplies at nearby underresourced public schools. We are also giving some support for a school lunch program at the nearby Bulobi school, so children can be fed and stay for the full school day. It's hard to learn when you're hungry, and students at nearby schools often go home at lunchtime and don't come back to school in the afternoon.

None of this would be possible without you, so we extend our sincere gratitude. Thank you for making a difference!

Miriam is in chemo treatment for her cancer.
Miriam is in chemo treatment for her cancer.
Breaking ground on a playing field at our school.
Breaking ground on a playing field at our school.
AAH students enjoy track and field competitions
AAH students enjoy track and field competitions
This student with albinism can now go to school.
This student with albinism can now go to school.

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Cover story on recent AAH trip
Cover story on recent AAH trip
Results of the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) are in!
On the school break, schoolchildren and teachers were home in the village, helping parents and keeping busy. 

Great news!  The results of the Primary Leaving Exam (PLE) taken last Dec. are in, and all of the 7th graders  at Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH)'s school in Uganda have passed -- most scoring in the highest category. This made them eligible to attend some of the best secondary schools in the country. In Uganda, the PLE is a national exam at the end of primary school to determine who is permitted to continue on into secondary school, so it's a very important milestone. This is a real testament to our hardworking teachers, staff, students, their supportive families, and our wonderful sponsors and supporters! Our top female student was even the top female student in the district!

Equally exciting, we're thrilled to announce that a local school that we have assisted under our outreach program also had all their seventh graders pass the PLE. While Bulobi school had less top scoring grades, they all passed for the first time in the school's history! This means more will have a chance to go to secondary school.  Lasell and Marymount have much to do with this success as both have sent numerous groups of teachers adn students which helped improve educational quality at Bulobi. PLE scores at other of our outreach schools are steadily improving, demonstrating that adopting AAH's educational model is possible and is effective.
Our primary, secondary, and university students are at school now. Meet a special one: Moureen, recipient of our 2015 TOMS Award. This award recognizes academic achievement and community service because giving back is important to us. Moureen is 13 yrs old and went to a public school. She scored high on the PLE and helped out at school. She wants to become a doctor and help sick people in her community one day. She hopes to help other girls to finish school and live better lives. She encourages neighbors to take care of their health by bathing regularly, brushing their teeth, and washing their clothes. At home, she helps her parents care for 15 siblings and by fetching water, sweeping, and cooking.
Thank you so much for your interest and support!  We simply couldn't do it without you. Oh, and check out the cover story on a recent trip to AAH programs by co-founder John Wanda, Board member Dean Scribner, and some very dedicated donors!
Health Clinic in Bupoto
Health Clinic in Bupoto
Donated girls mentoring t-shirts proved popular
Donated girls mentoring t-shirts proved popular
2015 Tom's Scholar
2015 Tom's Scholar

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Frederike, a volunteer from Germany with students.
Frederike, a volunteer from Germany with students.

At Arlington Academy of Hope's (AAH) operations in rural Uganda, it's been a busy few months! 

We had an increased emphasis on STEM subjects this year. This year, we were fortunate to have over 70 volunteers from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, and more come volunteer at the school. They are able to help the teachers by, for example, working with individual students and small groups who need a little extra help.  They also bring new techniques and energy to the classroom, so we keep improving. (Want a life-changing experience? Consider volunteering in Uganda!)

The school year ended last week, and our students, teachers, and staff are on a well deserved school break. 

At our primary school, seventh graders spent the last several months studying long days and weekends to prepare to take the highly competitive national Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) which determines whether students graduate primary school and continue on to secondary school (high school). 

We also assisted a number of underresourced local schools to prepare their seventh graders for the PLE as well.  They took the PLE recently and are awaiting results, which determine if and where they will go on to secondaty school. Once the seventh graders hear results, they only have a few short weeks to report to secondary school.  There's a reason the AAH school is in the top 1% of schools nationwide -- the teachers and the students work incredibly hard! 

As our seventh graders prepared to leave primary school, we just finished selecting the new first grade class that will start late Jan-Feb when the new school year begins. They are enthusiastic, energetic, and beaming from ear to ear!  We can only take a portion of those who apply, and families camped out for days on the road to the school just for a chance to intervew for a slot in first grade.  The schools's success has changed many parents' minds about the value of an education, and how it can change lives for the student and his or her family.

Our second group of secondary school graduates are keeping busy at university.

Thank you for making it possible for the children to go to school. You are truly tansforming lives and giving them a real chance for a better future.

Grace, on a Teen Service Trip, reads with a child
Grace, on a Teen Service Trip, reads with a child
AAH held a race in Uganda and in the US in Nov.
AAH held a race in Uganda and in the US in Nov.
Sangya, from Univ of Pitt, tutored students
Sangya, from Univ of Pitt, tutored students
AAH donated math supplies to local schools
AAH donated math supplies to local schools
Thank you for making a child's education possible!
Thank you for making a child's education possible!
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Community service by volunteers and students
Community service by volunteers and students

While June-August is traditionally school vacation for primary school students in the U.S., in Uganda, schools have three terms with shorter breaks throughout the year.  At the Arlington Academy of Hope's (AAH) school in rural Uganda, students were busy learning and studying.  We had volunteers this summer from several countries, and they assited teachers, tutored children, and managed to squeeze in a little playtime at recess!

The Reading Challenge was kicked off with the help of visiting volunteers from the U.S. and Europe.  This is an exciting time of year, as students read at least 50 books each, and many read lots more.  There were also math challenges this year, to help demonstrate that math can be fun.

In July,  AAH celebrated its 10th Anniversary...ten years of transforming lives in rural Uganda by performing community service qnd helping out at nearby schools. .While we have had challenges, we have also had extraordinary success as measured by test scores, graduation rates, and acceptance at secondary school and university, and want to share this with others.

In August, our second class of secondary school graduates headed off to university!  One of the students is even studying to become a doctor.  This is an amazing feat for a humble rural school! 

Recognizing the suceess AAH has had academically, the Govrnment selected AAH to host a National Conference on how to improve public schools nationwide.  We were honored to be recognized as a model of what works, and delighted to have over 100 visitors for the day. 

Next quarter, 7th graders will take the all-important national standardized Primary Leaving Exam (PLE) to determine if they can go on to secondary school, so both 6th and 7th graders (and their teachers) have been putting in long hours of preparation.  This month, we will also be helping students at over 20 public schools be better prepared for the PLE by sharing practice tests and me=aterials with them. 

To our supporters, you cannot imagine how many heartwarming notes and messages we get from the students thanking you for changing their lives and giving them a future!  Thank you!

Students visit the US Embassy resource center
Students visit the US Embassy resource center
A student's artwork for the 10th Anniversary!
A student's artwork for the 10th Anniversary!
Kicking off the Reading Challenge
Kicking off the Reading Challenge
students hard at work!
students hard at work!

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Organization Information

Arlington Academy of Hope, Inc.

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AAHUganda
Project Leader:
Arlington Academy of Hope
Executive Director
Arlington, VA Uganda
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