Through Child Sponsorship funds, over 500 students in the Jinja and the surrounding districts are able to attend school regularly.
Although Uganda recently adopted the policy of Universal Primary Education (UPE), government schools are often overcrowded, under-staffed, and charge additional fees (teacher fees, lunch, uniform, etc). As a result, many children are still unable able to afford school.
Through AOET's sponsorship program, sponsored children have their school fees and supplies paid, which allows them to attend consistently throughout the year. Children who are sponsored are orphaned by one or both parents or are labeled as "vulnerable" due to various circumstances.
This year, the number of AOET's sponsored children has expanded to reach out to over 800 OVC, 300 of whom are in northern Uganda.
After primary school, moving on to secondary school is difficult in Uganda. School Fees are higher, schools are fewer, and many students are not able to continue due to poor performance on primary exams especially last year. Yet, secondary school is so important when it comes to a successful education.
Graduates of secondary school can move on to University and obtain higher paid jobs in the future. This year, AOET has sought to increase the number of secondary students sponsored.
This comes as a challenge because sponsors are more likely to select younger children when looking at profiles. Additionally, AOET must put a larger percent of sponsorship fees toward school fees and less toward the overall wellness of the child.
Only 3% of Uganda’s population attend Tertiary Institutions; many will go on to be leaders in their communities and Uganda. AOET has several university students being sponsored currently and more have completed their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) and are waiting to join university in August, 2009. One of our university students, Mukazungu Justine is going for her final semester at university and will graduate this year.
For those students unable to attend secondary school, vocational training is a viable option for acquiring skills and ensuring a means of future income.
This has especially been the case in places like Lira in northern Uganda. After many years of being held as child soldiers or being unable to attend school because of fighting, formerly displaced families are returning to their homes and schools are opening.
But many of these children are too old to return to school or even start school. Learning a trade, such as tailoring, farming, or welding, provides them income-generating potential for the future. This year AOET has 40 students in vocational training in Lira.
In November 2008, several sponsored children sat for their final examinations at various levels: Primary Leaving Examinations(PLE), Uganda Certificate of Education(UCE) and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE).
The staff at AOET is excited to announce that all the 33 PLE candidates passed and qualified to join high school; yet the general overall performance countrywide was poor, with over 80,000 children failing countrywide.
Three sponsored children excelled at district and country level:
- Mulungi Timothy (Shilo Nile Star Primary School),
- Ssebale Jamil (Rehaboth Integrated School)
- Ganate Edison (Rehaboth Integrated School) scored fantastic first grades.
From the recently released UCE results, Ingabire Jane (Gayaza High School), one of AOET’s sponsored children, was among the top students at national level scoring aggregate 12 in the best eight subjects!
We want to say BRAVO to all our sponsors,donors and partners for making this happen.
Child Welfare is much more than sponsorship and school fees, however! This year AOET staff took a new look at how the WHOLE child is doing.
Through home visits using a new form and database, Child Welfare staff and volunteers have been collecting information on the children in AOET’s sponsorship program: where do they live, how is their health, who do they live with, what is the family’s source of income?
This information will help AOET know more about how each child is benefiting from AOET’s program and assist as AOET continually improves its services. We also plan to do trainings for OVC care for all guardians of our sponsored children this month.