See Africa, Breathe Africa
The value of education is immeasurable and every child should be given the opportunity to learn and reach their full potential. We place great importance on early years education, believing that it lays the foundation for future learning and development.
The Story So Far
In rural Uganda, education still follows the 'chalk and talk' methodology, giving little room for creative expression, learning through doing or for developing an imagination.
Early on, we realised the need for learning through play and for more hands-on, child led initiatives to unlock children's capacity for development.
We started in 2005 by renovating the primary school at Bufuka. True to our beliefs in the importance of early years education, we then built and opened our own nursery school on the site in 2006. This immediately became invaluable to the local people, and numbers at the nursery swelled. We have worked to support our teachers, training them in the importance in child-centred learning, and have provided much-needed scholastic materials.
Since then we have renovated another four primary schools and built another three nursery schools alongside the primary schools we support. Additionally, we installed water harvesting tanks and latrines at many of these schools as well as libraries to encourage and support their literacy education.
Our heart lies in our Nursery schools and we run three separate locations around the Kabale district. Integral to these has been teacher training, building on the child-centred approach that we introduced. We encourage a focus on creativity and self-expression, allowing the children, some as young as 3, to learn through exploration and hand-on experiences.
Edirisa UK constructed all of our nursery schools, or where possible, renovated buildings that were gifted to us to use for a nursery. We ensure the continued upkeep of the nurseries and provide scholastic materials and equipment. We recently installed new, metal playground equipment across all of our sites. All children in our care are given lunch, ensuring they get at least one filling meal a day.
Originally we covered all the costs of our nursery schools, but in 2015 we began charging parents a small fee of just $10 per term. This helps pay teachers' salaries and enables us to provide more equipment and scholastic materials. Ultimately, it makes the nurseries more sustainable in the longer term.
Supporting Primary Schools was where is all started. In the early days of Edirisa UK our focus was on raising money to support Bufuka Primary School on Lake Bunyonyi.
Over time we began supporting other schools before branching out to encompass our other projects.
For the main, we funded scholastic materials as well as the improvement of the school buildings. Lessons took place in often dilapidated buildings, with un-safe conditions for the children. Our renovation/building projects allowed us to build much-needed classroom blocks, giving the children bright, spacious places to learn. Through our volunteer programmes, we were even able to decorate the buildings, often with highly colourful, attractive, and sometimes educational, designs.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss
That quote from Dr. Seuss perfectly sums up how we feel about reading. Reading not only has the power to educate and to inform, but is trans-formative, can whisk you away to new places, give you new experiences and broaden your horizons.
When we began working with them, the primary schools had very few books, whether factual or fiction, and the children had almost no opportunity to read. And so, the library project was born. The project was launched by our sister organisation, Edirisa Slovenia, who began by running literacy workshops in the classrooms. Soon after, we saw the opportunity to build purpose built libraries in the schools we were renovating. Edirisa UK either built or renovated a classroom to use as a library, while Edirisa Slovenia and the Ugandan Government donated the books. In total, we built and stocked four libraries.
As part of their literacy project, Edirisa Slovenia produced four story books for the children, written in both English and Rukiga. Very few books have been written in the local language, and very few story books have been written about local tales. Edirisa Slovenia took these stories and made them into books written in both English and Rukiga to aid the children's reading and learning, as well as to celebrate the local culture.
"Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace."
- Confucius -