UGANDA: Salesian Missions Announces Completion of Two New Kindergarten Classrooms Made Possible by Generous Donor
(MissionNewswire) Thanks to funding Salesian Missions received from a generous donor, two new kindergarten classrooms have been built at the Salesian-run St. Joseph Primary School Namaliga, in the town of Bombo in central Uganda. The initial project, which was launched in 2015, called for one new classroom. But after an assessment of student enrollment, it was decided that two classrooms were needed, and it was more efficient and economical to build two classrooms at the same time.
During the 2015-2016 school year, 170 children were enrolled at the primary school with the number expected to rise. Before the project was launched, the two existing kindergarten classes at the elementary school were filled beyond capacity. The crowded classrooms made it challenging for students to learn and difficult for teachers to provide the individual attention students need most. In addition, the limited space reduced the number of new students the school could accept.
While the land was leveled and the walls of the new classrooms raised, funding is still needed to finish the classrooms including doors, windows and new seating for the students. Don Bosco Elementary School is among the more than 5,300 Salesian schools around the globe that demonstrate the power of education as an effective means of breaking the cycle of poverty while giving the most vulnerable youth a sense of personal dignity and self-worth. Salesian-run vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools provide practical skill training helping youth to become productive, contributing adults in their communities.
In Uganda, less than 25 percent of elementary school graduates enroll in secondary school, according to UNICEF. At the Don Bosco Elementary School, Salesian missionaries are encouraging young students to further their education, believing that early learning is critical to a student’s academic and individual success and their ability to contribute to their communities in the future.
“Students learn better when they are in a comfortable structured environment with low student to teacher ratios,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The addition of new kindergarten classrooms will allow for improved learning environments in the existing classrooms and the ability to enroll new students.”
In Uganda, Salesian schools not only provide a space for learning, they also help meet the basic needs of their students. Elementary and secondary schools offer a feeding program where meals are provided to students during the school day and serve as an incentive for families to send their children to school. Access to nutritious meals makes students better prepared to take part in school activities and focus on their education.
“We have seen the devastating results of conflict on individual lives, families and countries but we are also seeing how people, especially poor youth in Uganda, are making enormous efforts to overcome the challenges that they’ve faced to build better lives for themselves,” says Fr. Hyde, “Access to education is critical for youth to learn and develop the skills for employment and success later in life.”
Close to 67 percent of Ugandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty, according to UNICEF. While the country has seen some economic growth as well as improvement in its Human Development Index ranking over the last 20 years, the country still ranks near the bottom at 163 out of 188 countries. After decades of war left many displaced, the people of Uganda face many significant challenges as they work to rebuild their country.
The donor has requested to remain anonymous.
Salesian Missions donor services
UNICEF – Uganda