HEAL International is working with Learning Beyond Borders at Old Scona Academic High School in Edmonton by linking them with Kakooga and Rugaaga Primary Schools in Uganda to develop responsible global citizens.
Learning Beyond Borders has established both a monetary and a cultural connection with Kakooga and Rugaaga, as the first steps in supporting and raising awareness about what life is like in rural Uganda with the hope to inspire students in Uganda to continue their education, form friendships, and eventually become engaged in local and global issues.
Kakooga and Rugaaga Primary Schools
HEAL International supports Kakooga and Rugaaga primary schools, two rural school in Western Uganda. Both schools are located in the Rwimi sub-county within the Kabarole District. Both are very poor schools in a region where, due to the socio-economic conditions of many families, most students are without the basic school supplies necessary to their studies. Funds raised by Learning Beyond Borders purchase text books, exercise books, and sports equipment so that the students have a better chance at succeeding in school and life.
The schools faces a number of challenges. The first is that the surrounding population is quite poor with all families of schoolchildren surviving on subsistence farming. Parents are therefore unable to afford even the small amounts of money required to provide paper, pens, and school uniforms for them to attend school. Education of schoolchildren competes with the need to have the children available to plant and harvest crops. Teachers are chronically underpaid in rural areas of Uganda and their situation is made more difficult if they do not have access to affordable housing close to where they teach. At Kakooga Primary School, some teachers have to travel over one hour each way to the school and during the rainy season are unable to travel across the mud roads to reach the school.
HEAL is working with the local sub county administration and the Headmasters of Kakooga and Rugaaga Primary Schools to improve the quality of education but also encourage parents to keep their children in school. HEAL’s activities in this school have included the donation of textbooks based on the Uganda Primary School curriculum; this has enabled children in Primary 5, 6, and 7 to have available at least one textbook to share between two to three children. HEAL has also provided sports equipment to allow children to engage in team sports. This has encouraged attendance in school as children are motivated to attend daily in order to participate in sports even when their parents do not support their attendance at school.
The school currently has a need for more textbooks to ensure that each child has at least one to enable them to complete their homework, learning tools such as microscopes, basic lab supplies, maps and globes, etc. Future projects may include working with the local sub county administration to help build shared living quarters for teachers.