PROJECTS

Kisoro Demonstration School

Arts and Crafts Project

This project aims to promote the spirit of self-reliance and improve motor co-ordination skills amongst deaf and blind children. It will also facilitate them earning a living in the future. SEDCU was approached about funding this project 5 years ago.  Thanks to numerous generous donations the project has taken off and is going so well that it is now embedded in the curriculum for the whole school as well as providing an enjoyable and fulfilling activity after school and at the weekends for the children who board. Some of the products which are produced by the children are of a sufficient quality to sell, and the income this generates is being ploughed back into the project for purchase of materials.  The children have also learned that some of the required materials can be found in the countryside so they are bringing them to school. Recent activity has included a focus on knitting jumpers which are part of the school uniform, and these have been sold to parents for their children.  SEDCU helped here with funding of knitting machines and a part-time instructor. The children have also learned to crochet book bags and to recycle potato and cement bags into shopping bags.

We wish to provide continuity of support for the Arts and Crafts project.  We have had ample evidence to show how valuable this project has become, especially for the deaf children, one of whom has built on her experience at KDS to progress to vocational college where she is currently completing a two year course on knitting and tailoring.  The project has become partly self-sustaining through sales of knitted items, but there is still a need for financial input to provide a full range of educational opportunities.  The cost of material, equipment and instructors is in the region of £1000 per year.

Musical Instruments

Recognising that there are still relatively few activities outside school hours which are suitable for the blind and visually impaired children, SEDCU agreed to fund the purchase of some musical instruments with a view to the possible establishment of a School Band to stimulate the musical talents of these children. It will be good for their leisure and entertainment and some might even be influenced to take this up as a vocation in later life. Most importantly it will help to improve their cognitive, social and psychological capabilities. SEDCU has funded the purchase of a number of instruments as well as amplifiers and loudspeakers so that they can mount concerts. We have also funded the employment of a part time music teacher.

Paralympic Experience

On three occasions during the past few years SEDCU has made it possible for groups of children with disabilities, including those sponsored through SEDCU, to attend the annual Ugandan National Disability Sports Gala.  This is organised by the Ugandan Paralympic Committee drawing competitors from across the country.  The children from KDS, together with guides and teachers, have travelled long distances to the various venues where the events have been held.  SEDCU has funded their transport, accommodation, subsistence costs and entry fees.  The KDS pupils have performed outstandingly well and, on occasions, have come first overall – a testament to the determination of children and staff.

SEDCU wishes to continue to provide financial support for a team of disabled KDS pupils to participate in the National Disability Sports Gala in 2019.  We have received very positive reports from past events and we know that, without our support, the children will not be able to participate.  Sending a team of (say) 10 children together with guides (for the blind children) and teachers (to support the deaf children) will cost in the region of £800.

Scouting Jamborees

Over the past four years SEDCU has also made it possible for a troupe of scouts, with a variety of disabilities, to participate in the annual National Scouting Jamboree. Each year they participated in the category of Junior Scouts with Special Needs and were triumphant.  As a result, during the last two years they have represented their country at the East African Scouting Competitions which have been held in Kenya and in Uganda.  On both occasions they gained first position out of five countries!  SEDCU considers that the participation of children with disabilities in these events broadens their horizons and is living proof of the school that ‘disability is not inability’.

We are extremely keen to send a troop of scouts to the National Scouting Jamboree in 2019.  Should they win their class again (for deaf and for blind children) we would also wish for them to be able to accept the invitation to the East African Competition, an amazing opportunity to represent their country. We have had very detailed and positive reports from previous events. 12 children participating in a scouting jamboree would be in the region of £1000.

Teacher training

We have funded the first year of a two  year in-service course for one of the teachers at KDS to acquire a degree in Special Needs Education.  We will need funds to continue our support in the second year, in the region of £600.

Poultry Keeping

The Head Teacher and Staff of Kisoro Demonstration School were very keen to promote the spirit of self reliance and co-operation amongst the deaf and disabled children. SEDCU has provided funding for a first trial stage of a Poultry Keeping Project – a hen house (which the children helped to build!) and a first batch of hens. This project ran for a couple of years, but it was difficult for it to become self-sustaining. Among other things some of the hen were stolen and others eaten by wild animals! In the end, we agreed that the focus should shift to a farm to produce vegetables and to the arts and crafts project. 

PROJECTS

Mgahinga Community Junior School

Building construction

MCJS has been expanding steadily since SEDCU first started to work with the school in 2012.  As extra classes were added, more space had to be sought to make it possible to add a top class P7 SEDCU agreed to add a roof for a partly constructed building near to the school site.

 

Two years later, the Community decided to replace the original mud construction potato storage shed which housed some classrooms, but which was no longer fit for purpose.  SEDCU again agreed to fund the roof of what became a brick construction five classroom block.  This was completed in 2017 and is now in use.

It is pleasing that the community took the decision to extend the use of the new facilities to launch a tailoring project.  This is mainly being used to strengthen the capacity of local women to develop sustainable skills and generate income including from the production of durable sanitary pads.

Rainfall Harvesting

There is no mains water supply at MCJS and they have been relying on a water tank connected to the roof of a wood construction four classroom block to meet all their needs.  With the steady growth in pupil numbers, and the introduction of a boarding house for children needing to board, there was a desperate need for more water.  SEDCU funded a 5000 litre tank connected to the rooves of the boarding house and P7 classroom.  More recently we funded a 20,000litre tank connected to the roof of the new classroom block.

Solar power

MCJS is not connected to the mains for electricity, and in any event the electricity supply, which has just become available in Mgahinga, is costly and likely to prove unreliable.  SEDCU has funded three solar power facilities to provide power to the boarding house, the staff room and now the new classroom block.  This has made it possible to provide electric lights and also power for their computers which should boost IT literacy amongst staff and pupils.

SEDCU has funded an initial installation of solar power on the roof of the new classroom block.  A second installation is required to meet all their needs, at an estimated cost of £800.

Textbooks

We would all take for granted that schools would have a good supply of textbooks which are fundamental to providing children with a good learning experience.  In MCJS it has been difficult to fund the provision of adequate numbers and variety of textbooks.  Thanks to donations by SEDCU and others, they have obtained many that were essential to support the continued growth of the school, and especially as the school continued to add the more senior classes. Textbooks are essential to build the school’s capacity and reach the standards needed for children aiming to move on to secondary education.

There is always a need for textbooks – the aim is for every child to have a text book to refer to during lessons.

Teacher training

The Acting Head Teacher at MNPS, Annette, did not have the formal qualifications appropriate to this position.  This is not so unusual in Uganda with only around 45% of Heads having the relevant qualification.  SEDCU was asked by the local community if it would be able to fund Annette to pursue her studies and take the relevant examinations in order to become fully qualified.  She did this over a three-year period in her own time, including attending training courses during school holidays.  SEDCU funded the costs of attending courses and taking examinations as well as the cost of textbooks she needed for her coursework. (Unfortunately, Annette has now moved on and a new Head Teacher is to be appointed)

P7 (Top) Class teacher

The Governors of MNPS took the decision in 2015 to add a top class (Primary 7) which completed the school and enabled children to prepare for and take the exams necessary to make the transition to Secondary School (typically at age 13).  A classroom existed (for which SEDCU funded the roof) and charitable donations were made to cover the cost of furniture.  However the school budget was not able to cover the cost of employing and accommodating a suitably well qualified teacher. The Trustees of SEDCU concluded that this was a very high priority which would also help the school to attract more pupils and gain Government recognition. The Community believe this funding would be needed for 3 years after which other solutions may be available.

Kitchen and Dining Hall

With the completion of the new five classroom block, the decision was taken to demolish the potato shed where the school began, as this was deemed by the authorities no longer fit for purpose.  Part of the shed served as the school dining hall, so this must now be replaced, Even more urgent is the need for a kitchen to replace the rudimentary facility which has stayed unchanged as the school has expanded around it.  A design has been prepared for a new building to house a kitchen, serving area and dining hall.  The whole building will cost around £17,000, of which the community has committed £3000.  The balance will be sought from various charities and SEDCU has, in the first instance, committed to fund the kitchen which will be built first at a cost of approximately £4,000.

Sanitation block

The school is negotiating the purchase of an additional piece of land and has an aspiration to construct a new sanitation block to improve hygiene and accommodate the increasing number of children in the school.

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