Two Decades of War Robbed Literacy and Childhood of Northern Uganda
Schools closed down during the war. Schools that decided to operate despite the havoc going on in northern Uganda risked having their pupils murdered. If they weren’t murdered, kids were kidnapped and forced to act as child soldiers.
Many of today’s adults never got a chance to get an education. Illiteracy is widespread.
Some war survivors are still children. The war ended in 2006, leaving many of them orphans. 25% of the regions’ households are managed by children. These children spend their time taking care of their siblings’ health and education, and walking for long distances to ensure their families have somewhat clean water to drink.
How Long Would You Walk to School?
The area provides only one school. Igel’s children must walk 6 or more kilometers every day to school, then6 kilometers back.
At times, a journey to school and back means not eating anything all day long.
Free Education – But No Schools
Approximately 3000 children currently live in Igel, northernUganda. We expect the number to grow immensely, maybe even double, once we bring back the children who ran away toUganda’s capital,Kampala, and found themselves on the streets.
Both girls and boys are entitled to education at no cost in Uganda – an important step in helping them get educated. However, the government does nothing to provide them with schools they can easily reach.
Approximately 1200 kids, ages 7-14, walk to that one distant school every day, hungry. The school was built by early Christian missionaries, using bricks, sand and iron sheets. The structure is worn out. The teaching level is low. The school closes every time it rains heavily, as the school has no windows or doors. Many kids get their education outside, under trees.
Most kids who go to school only go to primary school, dropping out after the seventh grade. Many give up earlier. Only a few make it to secondary school.
It’s Time to Take Away the Obstacles
Giving residents the skills and tools to improve their lives and develop their region is crucial. Education is the getaway for a better future for both children and adults.
MCSF will be building a primary school, a secondary school and a technical institution right at Igel village, with the intention of providing residents an easier path to education.
Once we turn this dream into reality, children will no longer need to walk 6 kilometers per direction to get to school, and adults will have a chance to improve their lives as well.
Many university graduates in Uganda are looking for teaching positions. In order to provide pupils in the region with a real opportunity, only the best teachers will be brought to Igel. As we build the schools, we will build accommodation facilities for these teachers, so that even if they come from afar, they’ll be able to stay in Igel and make a difference.
A Technical Institution to Drive Illiterate Adults Out of Poverty
Many people didn’t get the chance to learn during the war. Now they’re adults and many of them have families of their own. We want to give them a chance to learn practical skills, which can help them create their own jobs, their own businesses – and leave poverty behind.
The skills we will teach will be relevant to students’ daily lives. Among others, these skills include tailoring, carpentry, mechanical work, construction, welding and plumbing. The technical institution will be located in Igel, to enable parents to dedicate time to themselves despite the need to take care of their families. Walking 6 kilometers per direction is simply not an option for most people who have children to care for and a household to run.
Once adult residents acquire the skills, some of them will surely move to the city, where they will have far greater chances to make a living. Others will undoubtedly stay in Igel and contribute to the local community. Either way, we will encourage them to become job creators, not job seekers, so that they can earn more, and not be financially exploited by employers like the children in Kampala.
From the Streets of Kampala to the Schools of Igel
Once our modern school facilities are ready, we will find the kids who ran away to Kampala, Uganda’s capital, during the war. Most of these kids found themselves on the streets or exploited by employees. 70% of the girls found themselves in prostitution. We want to bring them back home, to Igel, and reunite them with their families if their families are still alive. If no relative was left alive, we will provide accommodation for them and make sure they go to school.
These children don’t have anyone in the world. We want to be there for them. We have already built a small orphanage for children who were born on the streets, and we want to expand it. Every child has a right to a safe rooftop and to proper education.