Primary School Now Open
March 18, 2020
We are delighted to formally advise you that the Primary School you contributed to for Kkoba Village has opened!
The school’s official name is ‘St Gerald’s Wellshine Junior School’, most commonly called ‘Wellshine’. Gerald is the previous owner of the school’s land. He gave this title to the school to represent the donation of the land to the community. Wellshine comes from the school’s director Tony Wanyoike and his interns from Kkoba Village; Mudebo Charles, Ssesasadda Suliaman and Ssasanga Faiswali. The well represents a new spring of life within the community that the school has brought; it represents a new flow of hope. Shine represents the brightness the school brings to the community. Firstly, as a new light in the lives of all the children, giving them the opportunity to shine and secondly, as a beacon for a better future for the generations to come through Kkoba Village.
Construction & Opening
Kkoba School construction was finished at the end of February 2019. Construction was managed by Hope Line Organisation and consisted of just over 5 months of intensive labor. All staff were from within the Buikwe District and all resources were locally sourced including timbers, iron sheets, tools and scaffolding. The school opened on the 3rd February 2020. There was a delay in opening due to government requirements that had not yet been met and bureaucracy issues with the land donors. Learning from these issues, Purpose Projects together with Hope Line are pleased to have overcome them and see the school open this year with full support from Kkoba community and multiple surrounding villages.
Hope Line held an opening ceremony that saw almost 500 people come to celebrate the school. The day began with a dance party at the school, then all the students marched behind a band from a neighboring village through Kkoba and to the school. We then moved into the more formal part of the day with performances from the students, introductions from all of the teachers, speeches by various people including school management, local politicians, local representatives and the district leadership. A large lunch was served and the dancing continued. It was a special day and a huge milestone for the community to celebrate.
Hope Line made the decision to hire a Human Resource Manager (HRM), David Kalala to oversee the staff of the projects in Kkoba. He is the Head Teacher of Lugazi’s top primary school. He progressively hired all of the staff, of which there are 19 full time employees and several casual staff. The Head Teacher (HT), Muluta Shaukan, comes from a private school in Kampala. With over 10 years experience in teaching and management he was ready to step into the role as Head Teacher. He has led the team well so far. Tony Wanyoike the Director of Hope Line and Director of Wellshine makes the management decisions alongside the HRM and HT. Purpose Projects sits on the governing board with Hope Line, but does not make any day-to-day decisions.
The school currently holds 7 different classes: baby, middle (nursery section) and P1, P2, P3, P4 (primary section). A primary school finishes at P7. The government only allowed us to run up to P4 for the first year to ensure all students were academically capable before introducing a P5, P6 and P7 class. Each year we will add a new level. At the end of the year a student is required to sit school exams to be promoted on to the next level. Other schools in the surrounding areas have extremely low pass rates to secondary school as the P7 exams are marked at a national level. It is Wellshine’s aim to have a 100% pass rate for our students.
The school runs Monday-Saturday and is the only school in the area to teach on the weekend. All students and staff get fed breakfast and lunch while at school. The students walk home with the teachers who stay in a neighbouring village, promoting safety and security for all students. Almost all of the teachers come from outside of the area, as there are few qualified teachers within. The children begin school at 7.30am and finish at 5pm. Within this timetable there is an hour and a half worth of breaks, homework time and 30 minutes play at the end of the day. These are common hours for schools in Uganda where children do not have to go home for food.
Hope Line and Purpose Projects made a school budget for Wellshine, this was a tight budget. Per child the fees cost 175,000 shilling equivalent to around $88 NZD per term. This is 50% of similar schools fees for schools of the same quality in the district. Hope Line then held a community meeting and asked what parents would be willing and could afford to pay for their children to have quality education. The parents agreed on a unanimous amount of 50,000 shilling per term. An average income per family in Kkoba is between 30,000 – 60,000 shilling per month. Therefore we have a shortfall of about $63 NZD per child per term. We are launching a child sponsorship program in a few weeks to support this difference.
We would like to thank each and every one of you who contributed towards Wellshine. The donations have covered the build and the opening costs. Resources have given teachers a huge opportunity to teach differently and outside their normal scope of practice. Sports equipment and games have provided quality game time and the opportunity to learn new sports. Posters made and decorated have brightened up the classrooms and helped ease the teachers workload in the beginning weeks of term so they could focus on settling new students. Uniforms donated meant we could discount the cost massively for families making it affordable for all children to purchase uniforms. Books have provided enough for an entire school library, hugely rare for rural schools. Pens, pencils, books, other stationary and teaching supplies have been spread throughout the whole year. Families who were not able to afford books and stationary have been supported, while all the classrooms have their own sets and resources and teachers too. The management was beyond thrilled with the enormous amount of resources the school was able to begin with. It was the first time they had seen a school start so well set up. We can’t emphasize enough how grateful we are to all of you who have contributed to this project and been part of giving towards it. The school really is a beacon of hope for a better future for Kkoba village and this would not have been possible without you.
The impact has been phenomenal. On the school’s first day over 90 children turned up. Now the roll is at 175 students (as of February 22nd) and growing. Families are moving within the area to bring their children to Wellshine. We have seen a steadily increasing growth in the number of community members participating in the project. Children and young adults are serving where they can. Adults are now working for the school and using some of their salaries to pay fees in either a full time or casual capacity.
Historically Kkoba community has seen small scale programs start and finish or larger projects develop but not eventuate. The Primary School is the first large project to be finished. A real culture shift has been felt, locals are carrying a sense of pride for their community and what it will be. This was strongly felt throughout the school’s reporting day and opening. Many shared about the new hope they feel for their lives and their families lives seeing the development come to life. Small moments emphasized this like getting uniforms and seeing their children perform.
Going forward we are excited about Hope Line’s future projects for Kkoba Community. Hope Line is halfway through a secondary school. After this there are tertiary education, medical, power, water, sanitation, income and agriculture projects still to come. We are excited to work together to fund this development in Kkoba. We again want to thank you for the part you have played in bringing the first and largest project to life. Over the coming years we will continue to give you impact reports, updates and opportunities in Kkoba Community.