I started a school at my home by putting benches beneath a tree. In 2004, we began with eight students and one teacher. Three months later, we had one hundred children sitting beneath my trees who had come to study and learn. We also fed the children, but found it difficult to keep up with the demand to feed one hundred and counting. But the need was there and I could not stop. I had to find a way. I rented a humble classroom, but eventually, had to vacate because the rent kept going up. Eventually, I was able to secure a loan from a local bank and buy a small patch of land, upon which I began to build classrooms. I began with simple wood classrooms, nothing fancy. It was bare minimum with dirt floors.
The last twelve years of my life have been dedicated to these children and their education. I am of the belief that, “Education is a powerful Vaccine against disease, poverty and ignorance.” In 2016, my school has grown to more than 500 students. They are the orphaned, the lost, the abandoned, the forgotten, the poverty stricken and the extremely vulnerable. The school ranges from kindergarten thru high school, and I’m currently building dorm rooms on the land as well. Our future plans include a vocational school, as there are no jobs in Uganda; therefore, we will strive to teach the children a trade, so they become “job creators instead of job seekers.” We also intend to open a health clinic to support the children with their medical needs, as some of the children are infected with HIV/AIDS and adequate medical attention is so vital, not only to their immediate health, but also their longevity.
I have advanced the vision quite far in the last decade of my life. I have garnished the support of some loyal friends along the way, who serve on my Board of Directors. I have also advanced my own education and am currently working as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), working double shifts (16 hours a day) to support the salaries of the 30 teachers and keep the children fed, clothed and educated. I can support one child in a lower grade level an entire semester with $100 U.S. dollars; and $150 for an upper school aged child (this includes food). There is a total of three (3) semesters per school year.
It is a miracle and by the Grace of God that I am a witness to the blessings of education and support in the lives of these children. But I know that I have reached a critical threshold and in this hour, support from others is not only vital, but necessary. If you have found your way to this organisation, then you are not only reading my story, but my heart statement in this lifetime. All that I am, I have dedicated to these children. In them, I see the child within me, who wanted so desperately to have someone, anyone step in and help me when my own parents died. Ironically, every child helped along the way heals a little bit of my own path and journey.