Written by Coralee Kisakye, Founding Principal
We have all heard Nelson Mandela’s famous words on education.”
While writing this newsletter, I received a message from Moses “results are back, our children performed well”. We, along with the Primary 7 students, have been eagerly waiting to see how all their hard work has paid off, and it appears it has. Our children had a battle last year to return to the classroom after COVID and then the Ebola scare locking them down again, thankfully in school this time. All last year’s Primary 7 students have passed and will have the opportunity to move into Senior 1.
Our Senior 4 students have a few more weeks of waiting before they know if they have the score to move on to Senior 5.
The first day back to school for 2023 will be January 30th, the same as here in Australia. Moses expects the school to have even more students than last year as the high quality of care and education is becoming known around the district. Boarding students have already begun to arrive at the school, some excited to be back with friends while others nervously make their way to the dormitory as they begin their first year at Victory.
In Lugongwe, the school is known as “Victory”, a name that gives them hope for a brighter future. For so many, it is not just a school but a safe home; they have a bed, three meals a day, health care, clean water, movie nights, concerts, sporting tournaments and a life that gives them a chance to fulfil their dreams through education, both academic and spiritual.
In preparation for the children’s return, Moses has been supervising a team of workmen who have painted the school from top to bottom and repaired the floors and verandahs where they have become worn by the constant pounding of children’s feet.
The most exciting new addition to our compound is found just inside the gate, and it will be the first thing our little ones see when they walk in on Monday morning. A new slide and swing!
The finishing touches have been made, sand underneath and a bright paint job around the edging. Our climbing frame also received a new coat of paint. The playground is strategically placed so that the guard at the gate can ensure the children are playing safely during break time and redirect those who detour via the playground on their way from the toilets.
Most of the funds for the play equipment were raised by children for children through the sale of funky socks.
SAVE THE DATE!
Our School, Lugongwe, relies on the kindness of others to continue to support the children in Uganda. A long-standing friend of Our School, artist Jacek Limanowka is holding an exhibition of his artwork, and he will generously be donating proceeds to Our School.
Everyone is welcome!
Jacek Limanowka invites you to the opening of his exhibition entitled “Soul Surfing”, to be held on Friday, February 3rd at 6 pm at the Multicultural Community Centre, SA, 113 Gilbert Street, Adelaide. Proceeds to be donated to Lugongwe Christian Community Centre (Children in Uganda).
It would be great to see you all there.
Written by Coralee Kisakye
Another year has slipped by us as we in Australia prepare for the Christmas season. A time of family gatherings, tables laden with more food than we could eat, leading to a week of leftovers, buying gifts for loved ones and decorating the house. In Lugongwe, the children are preparing to say goodbye to their teachers, friends and the safety of their school.
Our senior 4 and primary 7 students completed their national exams in the past month. The senior 4’s boarded at their exam centre as the exams were spread over 4 weeks. During the 4-day mid-break, the students could go home for a rest. However, most of them chose to return to our school as it has been home for them for many years.
Our primary 7 students sat exams, over two days, at a centre in a nearby village. Due to the Ebola outbreak in our district, we could not use our school van to transport them. Thankfully, the government sent cars to take the children to the centre.
Moses has reported that all the primary 7 students feel confident they did well. They were grateful to their teachers for their support and the extra weekend tutoring and practice exams.
The senior 4 and primary 7 students have returned home to their families to wait for their results. Unlike our year 12 students here in Australia, who will have their results before Christmas, our students will not have their results until February 2023. Please keep them in your prayers.
The Ugandan health authorities declared an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in September, and as of early November, 136 confirmed cases, 21 probable cases and 53 confirmed deaths have been identified, according to the World Health Organization.
Lugongwe is in the heart of the district where the disease was first discovered and has been locked down for the past 6 weeks. We thank God that the students and teachers at our school have been spared, and at this stage, they have not had any cases.
Moses has been able to get through the roadblocks, enabling him to return to the school to ensure food supplies, medication and exam papers have gotten through.
Last week, the Ugandan Education Minister, Janet Museveni, announced that schools will end the current term two weeks earlier than scheduled to minimize contact among students and curb the spread of the virus.
“All primary and secondary schools in Uganda are directed to close by November 25th, 2022, for third term holidays as a measure to contain Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country,” Museveni said in a statement.
Our challenge now will be returning the other boarding students to their villages.
The Ebola lockdowns have really impacted our families. Most of our parents are farmers and rely on selling their crops for their income. As the trucks can’t get through the roadblocks, their crops are not getting through to the markets.
I want to give a shoutout to our primary school teachers. Most classes have fifty or more students, and they teach with not much more than a handful of chalk and a blackboard. I have seen them frustrated with the lack of resources. They spend all day with their students, often sitting with a struggling child and not giving up on them. Then, they run around the field playing soccer with their students. They are dedicated and love their calling.
This term, Moses bought the teachers a uniform that they wear Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, allowing it to be washed on the other days. This simple gesture has lifted their spirits and shows them how much we appreciate them as professional partners in our school.
L-R Emmanuel: P7 – Educational leader, Henry: P6, Madame Edith P1, Madame Oliver: Baby class, Madame Mary: middle class, Madame 2, Madame Janet: P4, Edson: P3, Sono: Top class, Front: Robert P5- Primary Headteacher.
To keep our children safe from the dangers associated with the mines in Lugongwe, we have been building a 7-foot-high brick wall around the school. The building of the wall moved up the list of priorities as we witnessed three incidents in a short period of time. The first was when a small child crept out through a gap in the brush fence, slipping down the embankment on the other side and into the path of a motorcycle. The second, a parent was assaulted in the evening by miners outside of our gate, and the third, the mines are now surrounding the school on three sides; this brings unknown men right up to our fence line where our students play, sleep and bathe.
With a combination of the wall and tennis court fencing, we have ensured no one can enter or exit the school other than through the guarded front gate.
OUR NEXT PROJECT
2023 will be a huge year for our school, and we expect even more students to enrol. Parents have indicated they want to bring their children into our boarding section. When the children are in boarding, they perform better in exams, and they have their teachers there for extra tutoring. The Christian community helps keep their children physically and spiritually safe. Sadly, there is still so much witchcraft in the villages.
The increase in numbers will put a strain on our already crowded dormitories. We plan to build hostel-style accommodation for our boys and male teachers, providing them with rooms and bathing facilities better suited to their needs. Our current dormitories will then be used for the girls and the nursery section boarders.
We were well on our way to achieving our goal when the urgent need to build the brick wall surpassed the need for accommodation. We pray that God will provide the funds so the building works can begin while Moses is still in Uganda.
KNITTING/CROCHET FOR LUGONGWE
During my last visit, I was reminded of the power of a small gift. Every year I take handmade clothing and beanies to give to the students. Usually, they are given on photo day. I take the child’s photo and give them a dress, pair of shorts or a skirt as a gift of love from Australia. This year the need came before photo day, as children were often sent to board at our school with little more than the clothing they were wearing. The matron would come to my door with a child standing respectfully behind her, “teacher, do you have anything for this one”?
One afternoon I found a few little knitted bears in the bag. I handed them to the little ones playing near the rubbish pit as a distraction from the empty boxes I had just tossed in the pit. I’d not thought it out as the children then started to appear at my door, bravely requesting a toy too. I managed to buy them off with a sweet as the toys were all gone. To ensure I didn’t repeat my mistake, I and some very talented ladies have begun to make small dolls, teddy bears and animals for next year’s trip.
Throughout all the challenges of 2022, we have so much to be thankful for.
- The continued support through our sponsorship program: we were able to pay our teachers, provide medicine for our clinic, employ a tailoring teacher and additional night guard, and we are looking for a second nurse.
- We have built a main hall, a place for the entire school to meet for: church and social programmes, including concerts, talent shows, movie nights, dances, overnight prayers and parent meetings.
- An additional plot of land was purchased to extend the playing field.
- A brick wall was built.
- Children have been able to return to school after a two-year lockdown.
- Letters from Australian sponsors have made it to the children, who were excited to receive them.
- The purchase of a school van enables us to transport our children to and from school safely.
- The children have been kept safe from COVID-19 and the current Ebola outbreak while in our care.
Most of all, we are thankful for God’s protection and provision for the work we have been entrusted to in Lugongwe.
The Australian Board of Lugongwe CCC would like to wish you all a very Blessed Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
May God shine his love upon you all.
2 Corinthians 5:7 We live by faith not by sight
Written by Coralee Kisakye
In Uganda, our children have finished second term and are now home again for the holidays.
The time passed so quickly. Looking back, we have achieved so much.
Highlights term 2
Primary School Sports Day
During the morning, our nursery children showed everyone their sporting skills, followed by a netball tournament, running races and the highlight for most of the children, the football/soccer game. Every afternoon for a week, the children learnt how to play new games and practice their skills. The week ended with a full day of competition. We have three school “houses” Jeremiah, Moses and Isaiah, Yellow, Red and Green.
It was a close competition, as are all sports days, the winners on the day were Moses’ house. Great revelry broke out, with dance and singing from one end of the school to the other. The following week the house cup was presented to the team captains.
Senior School Sports Day
A little different to the Primary School’s Day, our senior school competed in an int
er-school friendly competition. Travelling to a senior school in the next district, the students competed in debates, netball and, of course, football. It was a great experience for our competitors. Even though they didn’t win the event, they did come away with a deeper love for their school. Their words, “our school feels more like a home where we are cared for as people, not just a student” We must be doing something right in the heart of our teenagers!
For more years than I can count, it has been a prayer of mine to build a playground for our primary children. Moses and I saw so many other primary schools around Uganda, every one of them with some sort of play equipment, a slide, swings or old tyres in a pile for climbing on. An answer to prayer came with a special donation. We researched what was available and googled what we wanted, miles apart, of course. Moses made some calls and sent a picture of what I thought the children would like to the man who makes our bunk beds. Two months later, our jungle gym arrived. Another week later, it was painted and installed, ready for the children. With very little hesitation and squeals of excitement, the baby class christened our new equipment.
Never one to stop dreaming/praying, swings and a slide would be awesome!
Change in uniform
There have been several changes to our uniform over the 12 years to reflect the status of the school in the community and its cultural relevance.
In the beginning, the children wore dark green, a throwback to the previous school in the community; we changed to brown and cream to show a move forward. This looked nice but wasn’t very serviceable in hindsight, so the purple and black took its place.
Now, as the school is attracting families from further afield, it was brought to our attention that the purple colour is the same as the lining for coffins in many districts. So, our latest uniform change to the blue check brings us a more modern, culturally appropriate design. To help our families, we allow the children to wear the older styles until they outgrow them.
Gifts for everyone.
Beanies, shorts, dresses, skirts, book bags, sanitary pads, and washcloths, all lovingly handmade for the children of Lugongwe, were finally in the arms of those for whom they were created.
In the past, I would present each child with a gift of clothes when I took their photo, but things went a little differently this trip. Over the course of the trip, teachers or matrons would ask for additional clothing for the children. They had discovered that some of the boarding students had come with little more than the clothes they were wearing, while others were sharing clothes with their siblings. With the child by my side, I would open the bags, and together we would choose a pile of clothes they liked and a bag to keep them in.
I still gave clothes on photo day; no one missed out on their gift.
To make sure no one missed out in my quiet time, at the end of the day, I made more beanies, or head socks, as the children called them.
Our school covers 8 hectares, most of which is fenced with barb wire and hedges/ trees. This was ok when the village was smaller, and everyone knew their neighbours. Over the past three years, the village has changed quite dramatically. The gold mines are now literally on our back doorstep, and the roads at the front and side of the school are a racetrack for motorcycles and trucks bringing the miners into town.
At the end of term one, we began building an 8-foot-high brick wall at the front of the school. In preparation for the continuation of our wall fence, a team of brick makers has been using the many white ant hills we have around the school to build bricks. The plan is to continue the wall around the entire school, one stage at a time, concentrating on the higher-risk areas.
Our next build will take place at the rear of the school, where our sports field is located. Mines now board our field, and the natural fencing is sadly being greatly affected by the current drought. The wall will ensure the safety of our children while they play.
If you have let your sponsorship lapse, now is the time to bring it up to date. The photos have been taken and are ready for distribution, so watch your letter box in the coming weeks. If you want to sponsor another child in need or know friends who would, please pass our details on to them. These children need your help now and in the future.
Families in boarding.
Our boarding section is growing so fast that we are almost at capacity. Next term, our grade 7 and senior 4 students will all board as they will study 7 days a week, from 4 am until 10 pm, as they prepare for the National exams.
Many of our boarders come in family groups and attend classes from Baby to Senior 4.
Finally, come full circle.
This young man, Joel, was there in the beginning.
In 2009, the little school in Lugongwe collapsed, and God led me to open a new one. Joel was a student in that little school when it closed its doors. He was there when I ran the children’s program on my first trip, I don’t remember him, but he remembers me.
Now Joel is a teacher of Agriculture, you guessed it, in our school. He told me he feels proud to work in the community where he grew up and is thankful for the opportunity to work with us.
Written by Coralee Kisakye
It seems so long ago that the first term wrapped up, and we were looking forward to the holidays, all now just a memory as we finish our second week back in class.
The children completed their first term well, and all made improvements from their first exams to their last.
We celebrated with a party, including guest artists and three huge cakes. Children who came first in their class received a gift, soccer balls for the little ones, drink bottles for the primary and flasks for the senior students.
The children then made the great exodus back to their homes. It took us three days to transport more than 130 children home; we had the van and the bus making numerous trips each day. We have had so many phone calls from parents thanking us for the work as the children tell them how much they love their school, and the parents see the improvement in their English speaking.
While the children were away, the building team did an impressive job constructing a gatehouse and extending the wall fence along the main road.
Also, a new stone retaining wall with steps leading up to the office and toilets, three of the classrooms have received new cement flooring,
and our painter, Andrew, is making his way around the primary School painting in our new, modern colour scheme.
We also received an unexpected blessing. Through our connections, we had been added to the list for a Government deepwater well. To our surprise, the trucks arrived one afternoon to begin the work. We were expecting them to come and talk to us about it first! The Government have an initiative with a group called Wells for Life to ensure all the Government schools have their own deep water well. It seems they were trying to sink a well in a school in a nearby district but sadly for them, there wasn’t any water on their site, so the trucks and workers were redirected
to our school. The well will be deeper than our other two wells and will not be affected by the weather. In the dry season, we often run out of water, even with our existing two boreholes, and in the wet the water can come up dirty.
Drilling the well.
School Garden: beans have been planted under the Matoke in the school garden, and we have hired a plot where we have had maize planted. We don’t have enough space to plant enough for an entire term but every bit we can grow ourselves helps.
In addition to the food crops, we have been planting trees for shade and shrubs to beautify the grounds. The grass is spreading, and we should have good coverage by the end of the wet season. We weren’t able to have our new school field planted with grass so we just slashed the weeds; at least it is green! The senior students just couldn’t wait another day to use it.
Easter found us in a village, over 3 hours drive away, for Pastors training and conference. We were riding purely on our faith as the rain turned the roads into mudslides and it was all we could do to keep the car from sliding into the deep gutters. On arrival, we were greeted by the congregation and pastors from surrounding villages ready for their training sessions
The event culminated with water baptisms. This was an adventure. We walked through the mud and down the side of a hill into the valley to the baptismal pool. Imagine walking down a hill as steep as Mount Lofty in oversized rubber boots, through very slippery mud, in the drizzle. The baptismal pool was in itself a leap of faith.
After a very long wait, all five boxes posted from Australia arrived, with only a small fee payable for each box on collection. The boxes were filled with new handmade dresses, shorts, t-shirts, beanies and book bags. In the past, the items have been distributed on photo day, with each child receiving one item. This year the needs of the children have been overwhelming. For the first time, we have opened a nursery boarding house with a full-time matron. As each child arrives and the matron settles them in, in most cases, she discovers that the children have come with not much more than the clothes they are wearing. Only yesterday two small ones arrived, and they needed clothing. 2 pairs of shorts, 2 t-shirts for the boys and a couple of dresses for the girls, and they are all set to go. It’s not only the little children; throughout the primary section, children are wearing hand me downs that are not much more than worn-out rags or just too small. The teachers quietly come to my classroom door and whisper the needs of their students, and at recess time the required clothing is discretely distributed. COVID has hit some families harder than others, and a new pair of shorts is sometimes just out of reach.
Now more than ever, the sponsorship program is really holding our school together. The little the families are asked to contribute is only enough to keep the school in daily supplies, and for many of them, even finding that small amount is beyond their means. The main expenses, wages for our staff, medications, and school consumables are all funded through our sponsorship program.
The new curriculum for the primary school is based on the children having the hands-on experiences our children in Australia have. Last week I found a box of construction toys, and I ran 3 STEM sessions with my grade 4 class. The learning I witnessed was so much more meaningful than the chalkboard learning they are used to.
I am still working on photographing and gathering information about all of our students to send out to our sponsors. The children have loved to receive the letters and photographs that were sent to them.
I almost forgot…. We have reached our twelfth year of providing education to the children of Lugongwe. It was in May of 2010 that the first wooden classrooms were built, and 73 students enrolled in the first term. We have had well over 2,000 students enrolled over the years, with some starting in baby class and still with us in our senior school.
The continued work we have been called to do in Lugongwe would not be possible if it weren’t for the ongoing love, prayers and financial support of the people in Australia. Moses and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our past and present board members, the churches who support the ministry and each and every sponsor. May God Bless you all.
The first term is coming to an end. The children have completed their exams and are eagerly waiting for their report cards, and then they will officially be on holidays for three weeks. It’s a little sad watching the boarding students pack up their belongings and go home. The older students have been campaigning to stay on through the holidays to study. I think some are still living in the shadow of COVID lockdowns and fear the schools will close again. Other than the occasional face mask in Kampala, COVID is forgotten here.
The classrooms may fall silent of children’s voices, but there will still be action. Our building team will be busy resurfacing floors, painting walls and repairing doors and window frames that have come loose over time. The gardening team will be planting grass on our newly constructed sports field, planting maize and beans to supplement what we buy to feed the children and planting out garden beds with trees and flowers to beautify the compound. There has even been some discussion about a playground for the primary students. Imagine their excitement next term if we can manage it all.
The rainy season is finally upon us. So, the upgrading of the guttering and rainwater tanks will need to be prioritised.
A few weeks ago, we had a “visitation day”. Parents arrived in their droves, carrying baskets full of homemade food and treats for their children. I’ve never seen such greetings, children running and jumping into their parents’ arms. The compound was filled with family groups picnicking and sharing their stories. The children had prepared a concert for their families filled with songs, plays and, of course, dance.
For those without visitors, Moses and I tried our best to fill the gap. One boy came and asked Moses if he would be his family for the day as no one had come to visit him. Moses sat with him and looked through his books, then gave him a few shillings to buy a soda and snacks. That was one very happy little boy.
For those following the progress of the boxes of clothes we had posted back in December, the first two have finally arrived. Five had been sent. So, we are still praying the other three will make their way to us soon.
The children have been waiting for the beanies I have promised them. My class received theirs a few weeks ago as a reward for a job well done on their mid-term exams. It may seem strange that we make woolly hats for Africa, but it does get cool here in the wet season, and when the day starts at 6 am and finishes at 10 pm, an extra layer on a bald head is appreciated.
They are also great for keeping the dust out of your hair!
The tailoring program has had a successful reboot. Every Saturday, a group of girls meet in the tailoring room to learn and practice their skills.
In between classes, I have been trying to take the sponsorship photos, and I am hoping they will be ready for distribution soon. It hasn’t been easy to interview all the students as they have been so focussed on their studies. I have been lucky to have some senior girls assisting with the work.
Prayer request: So, as our little ones and not so little ones make the journey home this week, we ask for you to add their safe journey to your prayers.
Greetings from Uganda. The past 4 weeks have gone by so fast, probably because we have been flat out. I’ve been given the Grade 4 class to teach, while Moses is running both sides of the school, primary and secondary, as well as overseeing a team of builders.
It’s been quite a few years since I have had a class of my own, at the end of the first week I had a lovely group of 10, by the end of the 4th week we have expanded to 39. Grade 4 is one of the smallest groups of students, our baby class, or Kindergarten, is currently at 101 children with only one teacher, although after visiting a friend’s church today (Sunday) we may have found a second teacher.
RETURN TO SCHOOL
The children are so excited and appreciative of being able to return to school, I even have trouble getting them to go out for lunch.
Currently, we have 478 children studying in our primary school and 100 in our senior school. 230 of our students are boarders, the rest are what we call day scholars.
A typical school day starts at 4 am for grade 7 and senior students for morning studies for 2 hours. 7 am the bell rings for breakfast, and again at 8 am for the start of the official school day.
Recess is at 10:30 for 30 minutes, lunch is at 1 pm and consists of posho and beans and is home time for our nursery section children. Lessons again from 1 until 4:30. It’s a long day!
Boarding children then have time to play or wash their clothes and bathe before supper at 6:30 pm, the older students then go back for night lessons until 9 pm, followed by prayers and bedtime. To us Aussies, it seems like a very long day, but surprisingly the children cope well with it.
Two weeks ago, I put a call out for help to buy the wood to make more desks as all classes were seriously short on where the students could sit.
I only had seating for 21, with 39 in the class, so things were getting very cosy.
Moses and I were overwhelmed with the response with the 50 desks needed being funded within a week, then more were funded the following week.
The wood has arrived at the school and the carpenter has started cutting it into lengths. We are hoping to have the first ones in the classrooms before the end of the week. I’ve put my hand up for the first 3 or 4.
Thank you so much to everyone who answered the call so swiftly.
Fun and Games
To help make school life more than books and studying we have implemented a few recreational programs. Saturday afternoons are designated to our interclass sports tournament, consisting of Netball, Soccer and Volleyball, somehow debating also made it in, although I’m not sure it’s a sport!
Saturday night is movie night. Everyone gathers outside the senior school to watch a movie, projected on the end wall of one of the classes, it makes a perfect screen.
The first movie was Peter Rabbit, with the next week being an action movie. It is a really nice time for the students and teachers to come together and relax.
This past week we had a welcoming party for new students and a welcome back to the old.
The children enjoyed a special breakfast and lunch and danced for hours. I’m sure they will be talking about it for weeks.
Two more toilet blocks were opened for use today,
Additional bunk beds have arrived, enough for 30 students. We have set a limit on the number of boarders at 250 as until we build a boy’s hostel, we can’t accommodate any more. Parents are keen for the children to be in the boarding section as they are safer, and their teachers are on hand to help after hours with extra tutoring.
If you have been thinking of supporting a child in our school, now is the time.
We have expanded our teaching staff and non-teaching staff to ensure all of the children’s needs are being met.
We have additional matrons to assist the boarders with their washing, feeding and all those things their mothers would be doing for them.
Sponsorship for a Primary student is only $100 a year and for a Secondary student $200.
I know many really don’t like social media,
but it does allow me to send videos, photos, and the latest updates for you to see.
You can find us at Our School Lugongwe Uganda.
Written by Coralee Kisakye: founding principal.
Things in Uganda are moving along swiftly as we draw closer to the children returning to school. Boarding students will report this Friday, and those needing transport will be collected in our new school van. We have been blessed with a generous donation which made purchasing the van possible. It has been fully serviced, new seats installed and a new paint job.
We have had three separate building teams working to complete the major works before the school returns, they were even on the job Christmas morning, now that is dedication!
Starting from the front entrance to the school our security fencing along the boundary has been extended by 60 feet to ensure unwanted visitors don’t access the school grounds, especially at night.
The roof is going on the main hall this week. Then it will be rendered, painted and the doors and windows installed. We were hoping it would be ready for our first service on the 16th of January.
The hall is 70 feet long and 35 feet wide, it will be large enough for the entire school to meet for assemblies and Sunday services.
This building also brings us a step closer to meeting the requirements for our candidate students to sit their national exams at our school.
Two new toilet blocks, one for the girls and one for the boys, are being built for the High school.
The pits are all dug by hand and are more than 10 metres deep. One man is lowered down the hole in a bucket and will dig with a small hoe, filling the bucket for emptying as he goes. It can take the team 4-5 days to dig the hole deep enough.
The third team has been doing maintenance work. The concrete floor in the junior boy’s dormitory needed resurfacing, the Primary school is getting a new coat of paint and then the courtyard will need some attention as the broken guttering has led to some serious erosion.
Guttering in Uganda isn’t commonplace so finding someone who knows how to install it properly and have it fitted to the rainwater tanks has always been a challenge. However, Moses feels confident that the new builders he is currently working with have the knowledge to do the job right. Water harvesting is a high priority as with potentially 300 young people living at the school, bathing, cleaning, and cooking, puts pressure on our boreholes. We currently have two large rainwater tanks with the hope that we will be able to install a few more this trip at the High school.
Work on the Nursery section will hopefully begin this week before the children return on Monday for classes.
One of my first jobs when the children return will by to take their photos and get them back to you, the sponsors.
This year we will also be giving the children a copy of their photo, for many of them it will be their first photo.
If you would like to communicate with your sponsored children, the best way is to email me at:
I can then print your letter/ photo and give it to your child.
Last time I was in Uganda all the children wrote a letter, or drew a picture for their sponsor, I know they will be eager to hear from you in return.
THANK YOU IN A SMILE
Your love crosses the ocean
The miles that separate
You touch the hearts of children
There is no debate
Lives touched so deeply
A chance to learn and grow
Prayers of love in our hearts
In his footsteps we must go
Faith is like a mustard seed
Planted so small and frail
Nurtured by his love and grace
In him we shall avail
The thank you in a smile
Carries a thousand dreams
you walk with us in his love
His abundant love shines and beams.
Written by Raelene Elliss.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.
Written by Coralee Kisakye: founding principal.
Great News! January 10th will be the first official day of school for 2022. What that will look like for students and teachers we are still waiting to hear, but we are trusting in the Lord that we will be prepared.
The children are excited to return to school and we are expecting more than 200 children in our boarding section and 300 day scholars.
Moses has been in Uganda now for 2 weeks He was sent with a long list of things to do before the children return.
The construction of the main hall has started, and a second team of builders is working on the primary school renovations. The hall will be used for full school assemblies, exams and sports when the weather is unkind. It will have a space for the school office and of course, will be our church building.
Throughout the past two years we have had many donations of clothing, beanies, and book bags, lovingly hand made for the children. Moses took 23kg of clothes with him, and I have a 23kg bag packed ready for when I go in January, in addition, we have posted 5, 10 kg boxes, filled to the brim. The simple gift of a new piece of clothing means so much to the children. I remember the first year I took clothing, I gave a pair of shorts to a boy called Fred. I saw him wearing them every day, then one morning a different boy turned up in them. My first thought was that he had stolen them from him. Through an interpreter I asked him about the shorts, he told me that I had given them to his brother, and it was his turn to wear them so he could come to school. From that trip I have made sure that every child receives at least one item of new clothing, no one should have to wait their turn to have something to wear to school.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has continued to support our work in Lugongwe, whether it be through attending the quiz night, donating to one of our building projects or continuing to support the children through the sponsorship project.
More than ever before the sponsorship of our children is so important. The parents and grandparents have the best intentions to pay the school fees for their children, but the reality is that sponsorship from Australia keeps the school open for all the children.
The Australian LCCC board would like to wish you all a blessed Christmas and we pray you and your families have a safe New Year.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.
Written by Coralee Kisakye: founding principal.
The news we have all been praying and hoping for, schools will be reopening in January 2022. What this will look like is still unknown as even the experts agree there will be many challenges. For us though we have faith that God will continue to guide us as we plan for the children’s return.
The major worry for education experts in Uganda, is the unprecedented number of over seven million learners who will be joining Primary one, this number will put pressure on facilities and learning needs. The demand for more classroom space, textbooks and teachers, at pre-primary, primary and secondary education levels will be at its highest.
Prolonged school lockdown has led to 51% of learners across the entire education system stopping learning, 60% of these being from the primary years.
Approximately 30% of learners are projected not to return to school forever due to teenage pregnancies, early marriages and child labour.
In addition, there is an irreversible consequence of the lockdown, in that each learner has already lost two years. This implies that each learner has been in the same grade for two years since 2020, consequently this means learners, particularly in the nursery years of baby, middle and top class (pre-school, kindergarten and Reception), having outgrown their grades, which makes them prone to dropping out.
So how are we in Lugongwe going to tackle this problem?
Moses will be heading back to Uganda at the end of November, and I will follow him to be there in early January when the schools are set to reopen.
Moses will be spending his time connecting with the families to encourage them to return their children to school, regardless of their current situation. This will not be an easy task as many students will have given up their dreams of an education for simple jobs that might bring in a few cents per day or may now be parents themselves and see no need to further their education.
Older learners will be expected to go into primary classes without any of the nursery years foundations, this is just setting them up for failure. My job will be ensuring those children are not left behind, and to reduce the risk of them dropping out and continue the cycle of illiteracy and poverty. The plan will be to run a foundations class for children too old to be in the nursery section. This will be 5 months of intensive learning in an environment suited to their physical age not just their academic level.
The Ugandan Government have strict conditions related to the reopening of schools around ensuring teachers and students are kept safe from COVID. It is a condition of their return to work that all teachers must be fully vaccinated, thankfully our current teachers all are.
Some of these conditions include the space between beds in dormitories and desks in classrooms. This may mean we will need to build additional dormitories, purchase more beds and desks for the classrooms.
We have plans to create a nursery section within the current design of the classrooms. The classrooms will be redesigned, repainted, furnished and stocked with resources in line with the new National Curriculum.
Moses will be overseeing the construction of a main hall large enough for the entire school to meet in for assemblies and prayers.
During the past month our teachers have been working hard in the gardens, planting food crops and returfing the play spaces so the children will have beautiful grass to play on and to sit and read.
Parkside Primary School
12 Robsart St, Parkside
12th October 2021 7:00pm start
RSVP by 8th October to email@example.com
Moses and I will be Joining Paul & Laureen Newsham at 8:20pm on Sunday October 17th, to talk about the work in Lugongwe. This is a talk back show so if you would like to ring and join in the program the number is 8444 5433.
This year we are blessed to be hosted by Gateway Baptist Church,
6 Jervois Street Albert Park.
This will be our first major fundraiser in the past 2 years.
Please note: due to COVID restrictions: sharing of food is only allowed between household members.
Proceeds of the night will go towards ensuring the classrooms, dormitories and grounds are ready for the children’s return in January.
On the top is one of our current nursery classrooms, and below how we would like to have them look by the time the children return.
All the results from the National Exams are out and the good news is that all our children passed. When we reflect on the little classroom time the Primary 7 and Senior 4 students had in 2020, it is a reflection on how serious these students are about their education and the dedication of our teachers. A graduation party will be held in January to celebrate their achievements.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight. October 2021.
Written by Coralee Kisakye: Founding Principal.
COVID-19: Uganda goes into total lockdown as infections rise.
That was the headline of every newspaper in Uganda on June 18th. The Delta variant has made its way into Uganda and the President ordered a 42-day lockdown. Our children were quickly sent home to their families and our teachers locked down within the school grounds. Uganda is experiencing its first real taste of the virus with over 86,000 cases recorded and a little over 2,000 deaths, of course, that is just the “recorded’ statistics. We thank God that our teachers have been vaccinated.
With three weeks left of the official lockdown and daily cases falling we are praying life will return to normal and our children will be able to return to school. All through this pandemic we have been able to continue to pay our teachers and provide them with food and medical services, thanks to your continued support.
April was the 11th anniversary of the opening of our school in Lugongwe.
When I first saw the village of Lugongwe I had no idea why God had brought me there and why he allowed it to impact me so deeply. It was during a short trip back to Uganda in January 2010, that he showed me his plan, for the village of Lugongwe and for me.
Sometimes you must step out in faith. Sometimes God tells you to do something and you don’t know how you are going to manage it, but you must trust in the Lord. He will provide what is needed. By faith, you do what is right not what is easy. Nothing about the project has been easy, we have been challenged by those who would see God’s plan fail, but throughout we have believed and trusted in God. We trusted him for protection against witchcraft and illness, and for provision of finance and each time he has made a way.
I have lost count of how many children have been enrolled in our school over the years, it would be well in excess of 1500. Not only have they received an education, but they have seen how God can work in their lives when they accept him. We have seen children come up through the primary school and enter secondary school, we have enabled young women to learn a trade and have a way to support themselves without relying on early marriages. We have also seen some fall by the wayside as they experienced lockdowns and fell into the hands of those that do not wish them well. Throughout all this, the one constant has been the voice of our Lord reminding us to stay the path and to continue to support the children in their walk to know God and see his love for them.
Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Changes to our Board:
We would like to thank Richard Bunting for his support as Chairperson on our Australian board, and we wish him all God’s love as he continues to build God’s kingdom through his other ventures.
Paul Davies has stepped into the role of acting Chairperson. Paul has been a member of our team for over 5 years and is already bringing new ideas and people to our small group.
Diary Date: October 23rd
Venue: Gateway Baptist Church: 6 Jervois Street Albert Park
More information to come.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.
School is well and truly in full swing in Lugongwe. The Primary 6 and Senior 3 students have completed their end of term exams and are on holidays. The other students, who have not been back as long, are still studying.
Many of the children have stayed at school instead of returning home for the two-week break as transport is expensive and parents are wanting them to take advantage of being back in the learning environment.
To ensure the students have something interesting to keep them busy, they have been taking part in our first school holiday program.
The children were divided into three houses: Jerimiah, Elijah and Moses. Activities included: Sports, debating, drama performances and of course a Soccer tournament.
The primary students’ debating topic was around extended family versus the nuclear family, and the Senior students were debating colonialism. We have been lucky to have some video footage sent through which has been posted on our Facebook page if you would like to see the students in action.
On the second day, the students participated in a performance competition. There were three major categories: cultural dress and tribal traditions, song and dance and dramatic performances. They made their costumes, wrote scripts, songs and produced music.
The third day was a games day, and then the last day was the Soccer tournament.
The entire school walked the 2kms to the community field to cheer on the teams. This also brought out members of the community to watch. To finish up the week, a special meal was served, including meat, rice and a bottle of soda.
The program brought the children and teachers together for a much-needed time of bonding, friendship and communion.
There have been reports that cases are increasing in Uganda, but it is difficult to really know. The newspapers have reported schools will not be closed again. Our teachers have been vaccinated, and students are encouraged to continue to wear masks in the classroom.
Diary Date: October 23rd
Venue: Gateway Baptist Church: 6 Jervois Street Albert Park
More information to come.
There are many ways to help God’s work in Lugongwe, sponsoring a student, sewing clothes, making beanies or attending the Quiz night.
Can’t sew, knit or crochet? Trivia, not your thing? Are you wanting to do more? We have 2 spaces on our Australian board. If you feel God is calling you to help build his Kingdom and you have some time to spare, we are a small group of like-hearted people with a need for some enthusiastic Christian people to share the load.
May 2021. Written by Coralee Kisakye
The news is good, the children are coming back to school. Every week more and more children are walking through our school gates and into the classroom.
Currently, year 5 and year 6 students, senior 2 and senior 3 have returned. Over 80 of these students are boarding with us, and 56-day scholars. The class sizes are smaller than usual which can only benefit the students as it has now been one year since the schools were closed.
Our senior 4 students have finished their exams and now wait for their results. The Ugandan school system has four years of lower secondary and two years of senior secondary. Our school offers the first four years of secondary school; however, we are praying that next year we will be able to offer senior secondary as well.
Our primary seven students are preparing for their national exams, they will travel daily to the exam centre with one of our teachers escorting them.
The students will break off in May for a short holiday. We are expecting that all grades, excluding the nursery section, will be back in class by the end of June. The Government is anticipating it will take three years until the school year will be able to return to the pre-Covid 19 pattern of a three-term year.
Some more exciting news is that our school garden is now producing Matoke, enough for the children to eat each day with their posha and beans.
Matoke is a variety of banana indigenous to southwest Uganda. It comes from the family of bananas known as the East African Highland bananas. Matoke is used mainly for cooking when they are green and unripe. Cooked and mashed matoke is the national dish of Uganda. It is high in protein and carbohydrates and often saved for special occasions.
It has been a while since we have been able to send out photographs to our sponsors. You will all be aware that the children have not been at school for the past year, however, your sponsorship support has enabled us to continue paying our teachers and maintaining the school property.
Now the children are starting to return we will be able to get those much-awaited pictures. A photographer will travel out to Lugongwe this week to photograph all the students, he will then email them back to us for printing, then they will be posted out to you. Not all the children have returned so if your previous child does not return, we will try to discover why and inform you. I have been told that we have many new students enrol, so if your previous student is not going to return, we will give you a new child to pray for and support.
In addition to paying the teachers, we have sent financial support for the purchase of maize meal and beans for the children’s meals, and medical supplies. Their parents are expected to pay a nominal fee to support their children’s education, but the long-term lockdown has impacted heavily on their ability to earn even the smallest income.
Until Moses and I can return to Uganda we are heavily reliant on our headmaster and school manager to run the school and give us information about what is happening on the ground. However, Moses is on the phone with them every day supporting their decisions.
Written by Coralee Kisakye
After months of waiting, we have finally received the news we have been praying for. The schools have been given permission to reopen.
Currently, the Primary 7 and Senior 4 students are the only ones who have been given permission to study, but on the 1st of March, the Primary 6 and Senior 3 students can return, followed by the rest of the students, with a staggered start through April. Sadly, there is no plan for children in the Nursery section, Baby class to Top class, to return until Uganda is free from COVID-19.
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The 2020 academic year for all educational institutions will end in July.
This was announced on Thursday evening by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni during his address on COVID-19 pandemic and school reopening.
“Overall, the academic year 2020 will end in July 2021. That way we can say this academic year should have ended in December 2020, but because of COVID, it will end in July 2021. So that the learners after six months more, they
complete their academic year,” Museveni said.
The end of the academic year means that learners at different levels will now be moving to the next levels or classes on the ladder of education.
In Uganda, the academic year runs from late January to early December with three terms covering 260 days of curricula and co-curricular activities, assessment, and national examinations. However, in 2020, the academic year was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the government to close all educational institutions.
At the time of the closure, the idea was that learners could report back to school after 32 days. But, eleven months down the road, only a few learners in candidate classes and higher education finalists have been able to resume teaching and learning activities.
According to the President, learners in Primary 6, Senior 3, and Senior 5 will resume classes on March 1, 2021 and will study in a staggered system where different groups of learners will be reporting to school on different days as decided by the ministry or school authorities.
📌 BACK TO SCHOOL PLAN
✳️ Already at school Primary 7, Senior 4 & Senior 6
✳️ March 1 – Primary 6, Senior 3 & Senior 5 resume studies
✳️ April – Senior 1, Senior 2, Primary 1, Primary 2, Primary 3, Primary 4, Primary 5 staggered back
✳️ July – School year 2020 ends
📌 Ugandan National Examination Board schedule
✳️ Primary Leaving Exams March 30th & 31
✳️ UCE (ordinary level) exams March 1 to April 7
2020 held so much promise for our primary 7 and senior 4 students. They were entering their final years of schooling and making plans for their futures. I do not have to tell you what happened next.
Late in the year, the students were given hope when called back to continue their education. Not everyone has made it back to school. The lure of making a small income drew some of the boys into the gold mines. For the girls, not the future we were hoping for them as their parents arranged marriages, or they fell pregnant as many young women did during the lockdowns.
However, for some of our students, the opened classrooms were a call they had been waiting for, their opportunity to make a better future for themselves. Currently, in our school, 12 Primary 7 students and 11 senior 4 students are making the most of the small class sizes and their teachers’ attention to study in preparation for their final exams.
I want to take this opportunity to say once again thank you to our dedicated sponsors who stayed true to their promise to help the children of Lugongwe. Throughout the year all our teachers have remained employed, and our students when able have had a class to return to. Many of the children have returned totally empty-handed, without even a pencil to write their notes. Your sponsorship money has ensured they have all the requirements they need, a meal, a bed, medical services and teachers to guide and support them.
To ensure we can continue to support the children it was decided at the AGM to increase the sponsorship, this has been the first increase in sponsorship fees for many years.
The new sponsorship rates will be effective from 1st January 2021.
Primary student $100 per year.
Senior student $200 per year.