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Local Woman’s £30,000 Community School in Uganda Hope

Written by on March 1, 2019

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Article Published on Friday March 1, 2019 6:47 PM by

- Daventry News -
Local Woman’s £30,000 Community School in Uganda Hope

Daventry News -

Feature by Wayne | Listen to Juli’s Interview on Daventry Radio | Juli’s Just Giving Page

Local Woman is raising £30,000 to help fund a community school in Uganda – can you help?

Juli Sims from the Daventry Area is crowdfunding in order to to assist with the modernising of St Matthews Nursery and Primary School in Bwindi, Western Uganda.

This Crowdfunding drive is no mean feat as Juli is undergoing treatment for Secondary Breast Cancer and she is passionate that she wants to make a difference whilst she can.

Juli explains; “I have been in education for all of her career. My passion is to make a difference for children; to help them reach their potential. This is my last chance to do something amazing as I have secondary cancer. Please help me to help St Matthew’s and make us all proud!

Juli’s Story:

Image result for St Matthew’s Nursery and Primary School near Bwindi

This is St Matthew’s Nursery and Primary School near Bwindi in Western Uganda. It is a community school that has been set up by parents and community leaders so that the children of the village do not have to walk 7kms to the nearest government school and 7kms back each day.

It educates 386 pupils in just four classrooms. A number of the children are orphans as a result of HIV and there are also children of the Batwa Community, the hunter/gatherers who were displaced from the Bwindi Forest when it became a Heritage site and home to the mountain gorillas.

Image result for St Matthew’s Nursery and Primary School near Bwindi

Although primary education in Uganda is supposed to be free and available to all children, this is often not the case. Free government schools fill up very quickly and the demand far outstrips the availability of places.

There are hidden costs to ‘free’ education which include a school fee, school books, uniforms, beans for lunches and firewood. These costs can be too high for families with several children, living on less than $2 a day.

As a result the drop out rate in Ugandan schools is high. Around 90% of children start primary school but only 25% go through into secondary education and fewer to university or further education.

But the community who have set up St Matthew’s believe that education changes everything. As Nelson Mandela said

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

They have made an excellent start to establishing a working school in their community which is inclusive and representative of the different groups within that community.

But they need more help.

The walls inside the school do not even have plaster, but the children are attentive and enthusiastic.

This is a classroom at St Matthew’s. It’s not like classrooms that you might recognise. For a start it is overcrowded. The walls have no posters or wall charts or number lines or alphabets; they don’t even have plaster. But they are filled with attentive and enthusiastic children who are keen to learn.

They have no access to electricity which would allow them to start to use the technology which school children in the UK take for granted. There are no whiteboards in classrooms, very few textbooks and little sporting or scientific equipment.

“For about the cost of the salary of one primary school teacher in an English school it would be possible to make a real difference.”

For £4,000 they could build a new classroom, but for £10,000 they could build four and alleviate the overcrowding.

For £6,000 all of the classrooms could be plastered making a surface for a rich, visual learning environment of posters, charts, maps and pupils’ work.

£1,500 would provide the solar panels required to put light in all classrooms and enough power for 12 laptops. A further £1,500 would provide sports kits and equipment for all of the pupils.

£5,000 would build a block of 6 flushing toilets, helping to keep girls in school when they are menstruating, and for £6,000 a new kitchen could be built with energy saving stoves, meaning the children wouldn’t have to find firewood to bring to school with them.

Juli Sims visited west Uganda to find gorillas - but instead, she found a school of children she wanted to help.

For the price of a cup of coffee in the UK they could provide a child’s exercise books for a year. For the price of three cups of coffee they could provide one child with the bag of beans needed to provide them with a hot lunch every day for a year. For less than the price of a cup of coffee a day for a year they could pay the salary of a teacher.

The difference that this would make to these children would be immeasurable. They could fulfil their potential and become the new doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, scientists, pilots, entrepreneurs, policy makers of their country and all of this could be achieved for the cost of one English primary school teacher’s salary.

I have spent my whole career involved in education, as a teacher and an advisor, helping schools to do the best they can for their pupils. After visiting this school and meeting the community leaders who set it up, I know what a difference your support would make to the futures of not just the current pupils, but all those who will come after them.

Please help me to raise the £30,000 that would improve the life chances of so many young people by donating to my crowd funding page.

“If this can reach 3,000 people who were all able to donate £10 we could reach the target, so please pass the link on to everyone in your contact list.”

In these uncertain times, this is a tangible way for you to make a transformation, if like me, you believe that education can make a difference.

Thank you. Juli Sims

Photos and Text Copyright: Juli Sims

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