Project #14409

Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda with AAH

by Arlington Academy of Hope, Inc.
Co-founder Joyce at UCU graduation ceremony
Co-founder Joyce at UCU graduation ceremony

July 1st was a joyous day for the entire Arlington Academy of Hope community. After 12 years of working towards getting our children to a higher education, four of our students received their diplomas. Co-founder Joyce and many members of our Uganda staff were in attendance at the Mukono campus of Uganda Christian University (UCU) to watch them walk across the stage and celebrate their success and bright futures.

Three students received Bachelors of Arts in Public Administration and one received a Bachelors of Science in Development studies.

Attending a top university in Uganda is a dream come true for students from Bududa. They couldn’t have done it without AAH. Nabutsale says that, “I would not have reached where I am today and would not have seen my dreams come to pass. I would have dropped out of school and would have been married off already with many kids in the village if I was not a part of AAH.”

As the graduates are getting over the initial excitement around receiving their diplomas, they are now focusing on getting jobs and setting up their career. Nabulo is one student who has always put in extra effort to make sure she has a bright future. As a student, she competed and won the position of Female Youth Councillor of the Bududa District. Now, with a diploma she knows she will go even further.

“With my degree in Public Administration and Management, I can head an institution or even start my own. I can mobilize my community and even sensitize them on any matter,” say Nabulo.

Arlington Academy of Hope has done what it set out to do. Provide children with not only a quality education and the skills to achieve their goals, but it has also provided them with a positive outlook on the future. “AAH has given me hope” says Nabutsale. “I believe that in a few years to come, my goals will be realized since I have already achieved one of graduating."

AAH students who are nurses at our Bupoto Clinic
AAH students who are nurses at our Bupoto Clinic

This summer marks a major milestone for the Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH). We are filled with pride to announce the first ever graduating class of university students. These graduates have been with us since day 1, having completed primary, secondary and university. Of the 41 graduating students, many have already lined up employment opportunities as mechanics, teachers, nurses and midwives to name a few. And we couldn’t be more pleased that some of our graduates will be bringing their skills back home to work as the school coordinator and teachers at our very own AAH, and as nurses in our clinic.

This major achievement inspires us to continue our expansion efforts so that more students can have similar opportunities. We are proud to serve 340 students in primary at Arlington Junior School, and 320 students through sponsorships at regional secondary schools. But in order to make the greatest impact possible in Uganda where traditionally only 14% of students in primary will attend secondary school, and only 1% will continue to university, we need to continue to expand beyond the four walls at AAH.  

Our primary goal is to alleviate some of the challenges facing Uganda’s students and provide an opportunity for them to break through. We support 23 local schools in the Bududa and Manafwa districts. Our outreach efforts empower schools to follow what we at AAH believe are the pillars of quality education – an engaged teaching staff and regular student attendance, parental involvement, limited class sizes, lunch programs, and clean and adequate grounds. We also know that students who are rewarded for excellent performance, provided with opportunities to continue their education and who have access to mentors hold the tools they need to be successful. Currently we have served over 10,000 students through our outreach efforts.

As we reflect on the successes of the past, and celebrate the bright futures of our recent graduates, and the thousands of young people who are currently being touched by our programs, we are so thankful for our supporters, without whom none of this would be possible. Together we really are making a difference, one child at a time.

The academic school year began in Uganda on February 22nd, and we've been busy!  We will have nearly 30 volunteers since school started this year!  We've had two groups from Marymount University come to do teacher training, and the third Marymount group arrives in a few days!  Our Co-founder, John Wanda, is also visiting our programs!

We welcome volunteers throughout the year. If interested, email

Mary, one of our students said it best: "Since I got a sponsor, my parents have not stopped smiling because they know I can now go to school!"

Please note your donations to help children in rural Uganda will be matched all day today on March 16th, from 9am to midnight if you use this link:

teacher training
teacher training
teacher training
teacher training
AAH races in Uganda & U.S. raised funds
AAH races in Uganda & U.S. raised funds

Arlington Academy of Hope's (AAH)  primary school and the Ugandan secondary schools are in recess, and both start the new school year on February 22nd.  Our primary students are enjoying time with family, and helping them out,  before school starts. Some of our secondary and university students are also back in the village, doing community service and getting prepared to head back to school. They also mentor the younger students.

We had races in Arlington, VA and in Uganda to raise funds for education. Most of our teachers and students in Uganda participated in the race there

Once again, the 7th graders excelled and passed the national Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) with flying colors!  All of our 7th graders who took the exam passed, so they are able to continue their education in secondary school.  All scored in the top two grade levels, with most getting "As".  The only sad note was the passing of Miriam, a 7th grader who had suffered from leukemia since over a year ago. We brought her classwork and materials she requested to the hospital, and provided medicines and family support to give her dignity in a terrible situation.  Such a brave girl - she insisted on travelling 6 hours from Kampala to try and take the exam so she could graduate with her class.  Unfortunately she was too ill to take the exam, and passed away shortly thereafter.  We were all very saddened by this news, as we had tried very hard to help her get better.  We can admire her perseverance and courage.  She was steadfast in wanting to continue her education.

We have three groups of teacher trainers from Marymount scheduled to travel to Uganda in the next few months.  This is invaluable in-service training for our teachers as well as the teachers at nearby public schools (our "outreach" schools.)

We are awaiting results of university entrance exams, to see who will join our students at that level. This will be the 4th year we've had secondary school graduates go to university; we have over 70 in tertiary education now!

Thank you for being a part of our success! We couldn't do it without you. Please know it is making a real difference in the lives of the children that have so little.

Primary School Graduation
Primary School Graduation
Learning about animals habitat around the world.
Learning about animals habitat around the world.

Reading is a priority for us at Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH).   In October, our primary school in Uganda wrapped up its 10th annual reading challenge with a reading carnival.  This Year’s theme was "Wild about Reading”, and included lessons on animals and habitat around the globe. Math exercises were included too. During the event, all seven grades presented poems, songs and skits about the "Wild about Reading” theme. We invited representatives from the government and local schools to come to the reading carnival, so they could appreciate our emphasis on reading.

Over several months, a total of 71,987  books were read! One girl, Felistus, read 608 books and broke the standing record of 600 books which was set  in 2012!  The 2nd place reader, Sebastian, read 562 books and the 3rd place reader read 560 books. Teachers quizzed the students to ensure they understood what they had read.  The guest of honor was the editor of a national children's magazine called "Toto". She was very excited when she saw first grade children reading fluently. She randomly asked some to read aloud, and they all read with ease. Their enhanced reading skills makes the students proud, and many help their siblings at home to learn to read.  One student, Mary, is even teaching her mom and grandmother  to read!

We thank our teachers, who put in lots of extra time over the last few months to help our enthusiastic readers.

Congratulations to the winners and for breaking the record! 

Our students love to read!
Our students love to read!
Students are proud of their reading certificates!
Students are proud of their reading certificates!

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Organization Information

Arlington Academy of Hope, Inc.

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Carole Burk
Arlington, VA Uganda
2016 Year End Campaign
Time left to give
$414,070 raised of $424,521 goal
971 donations
$10,451 to go
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