Monday, March 19, 2012

Nyaka is Growing

Did you know that in 2012 we will graduate our pioneer Kutamba students? For those of you who are relatively new to NAOP you may not know that Kutamba, like Nyaka, was built in blocks and each year an additional 30 students entered into the lowest level.

This year marks the first time that students from preschool all the way through Primary 7 are walking up the mountain to Kutamba Primary School! This also means that this year we will graduate a total of 60 students.

What an exciting time – I keep wanting to call 2012 “The year of Kutamba!”

This is great news that comes with significant impact.

Remember that part of what makes NAOP unique is that we promise our students that we will stand for and support them through Senior 6 (the equivalent of 12th grade).

By 2013, NAOP will be responsible for 156 secondary school scholarships – a 62% increase from the year prior. As Kutumba graduates join the ranks of Nyaka graduates, graduating class size goes from ~28 to ~60 (please note that some students choose a vocation, move, or drop out of school). The first 4 classes (a total of 96 students) will be joined by about 60 new students each year until 2017 when the last of those first 4 classes will graduate. Students attend 6 years of secondary school, so by 2018 we will have about 60 students in each grade totaling 360 secondary students. The annual cost of secondary education is estimated at about $500/student. AT this rate the cost of educating all our secondary students will jump from $48,000 in 2012 to $78,000 in 2013 and reach $180,000 by 2018. Please bear in mind that this is under the assumption the cost of secondary student education remains at $500/student over the next 6 years, which is unlikely.

It is critical for us to secure Primary and Secondary School sponsors in 2012 because of this growth. Please familiarize yourself with this integral program that is sustainable and inexpensive to run. Think about your church, service organization, and others who might be interested in becoming a sponsor of a student or open to a presentation. Sponsorships start at $21/month…that is a pretty easy mention to make while talking to your friends and family.

We’re so grateful for your love, care, and support of our students and grannies. Please let me know if you have any questions.

To learn more about sponsoring a student check our donor page here

Primary 5 Students Take a Field Trip to Kampala

We wanted to share with you our Primary 5 students’ annual field trip they took in December. This is the very first time most of them have been to a big city.

The tour began on December 11th when a bus headed to Kutamba and Nyaka Schools to pick up the Primary 5 students and teachers. The following day they started their 8 hour journey to Kampala with their teachers and the school nurse. The group spent three nights at Rubaga Hostel located opposite Lubiri Secondary School and explored the surrounding areas for the next couple days.

On the way to Jinja on day one, as they drove through the city centre of Kampala, the children were amazed by the traffic jam and the buildings, as they had never seen tall buildings before. They got to see the Kabaka’s palace (the king of the Buganda Kingdom) in Lubiri, the clock tower morning traffic jam, and the traffic lights. They were in awe at how the motorcycle and bicycle riders maneuver through the many cars. Most of the children tried to count the taxis that were moving but later gave up, saying that there were too many and could not count them all!

As they drove they saw a railway line and kept asking why it was narrow, as they hadn’t seen a railway before. Further along the children got to see Kasaku Tea Estate in Lugazi and saw how people pluck tea. When the group reached the Mabira Forest most children knew where they were and knew the forest by name, having studied it in school. This area is well known for the Owen Falls Dam (a source of hydroelectric power). They also saw the bridge for the railway, the area where power is transmitted from, men who were uprooting the weed from the lake, canoes, and some got a view of crocodiles! Afterwards the group proceeded to the Source of the Nile.

The following day they went to the famous Namugongo Martyrs Shrine. Later that afternoon the group went to the Parliament of Uganda and was welcomed by a guide who gave a brief introduction of the Parliament. Interestingly, whilst there, the Members of Parliament had a debate on how best they can help the people of Uganda who have suffered because of wars, like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) War. Afterwards they went to the Uganda Museum. The children learned a lot about the first car, how electricity is generated at the Bujagali dam, the Stone Age, minerals in Uganda, how malaria is spread, and saw all the royal regalia.

Later that evening, as a surprise, the children welcomed Jackson at the airport! They got to see planes up close for the first time by going upstairs at Entebbe airport to have a view of the planes that were taking off and landing. After Jackson landed, they all went and had a soda with their beloved Director before retiring for the night.

They headed back home the next day – a very well-traveled and worldly group!

Grandmother Program

Wow! It's been awhile since we updated the blog. I'm very sorry for the delay but I'll be making up for it by posting a few things in quick succession. Hopefully, this will satisfy your Nyaka thirst for knowledge.

This post will focus on our grandmother program, which has been serving grandmothers in the area for the past 4 years.

Regular home and group visits are carried out by the granny coordinator and assistants to monitor living conditions and school attendance of children, provide technical advice on income generating activities, and to ensure that the grandmothers are planting vegetable gardens. Living conditions for some grannies have improved after getting new houses, however, the need still remains for more houses, kitchens, and latrines. Jovans, pictured below, is one of our most recent beneficiaries.

Why are we committed to helping the neediest grandmothers near the Nyaka and Kutamba Schools? There are many reasons, but here are a few: Students who do not get a good night’s rest have a more difficult time in school. A leaking roof and unsafe home does not provide necessary shelter against the weather. Also, while Nyaka cannot take on educating every child in the Kanungu and Rukungiri Districts, our efforts helping grandmothers has led to their self-mobilization into 90 groups. Our efforts have also led to a greater respect for Nyaka in the surrounding communities. Not to mention…if you’ve ever visited it seems like the right thing to do when we place the word “holistic” in our mission statement aimed at alleviating poverty!

To date, the grannies are involved in the following income generating activities: growing crops; goat and poultry rearing; and selling porridge, handcrafts, roasted cassava, and roasted potatoes. We are always looking for new ways to help our grannies help themselves and their grandchildren. These activities give grandmothers the opportunity to support their families and without having to take their children out of school.

If you'd like to support our grandmothers in their small business efforts please consider hosting a basket party or browse their handicrafts on our etsy shop.