Sister Schools’ mission is to teach compassion, service, and social responsibility to children and young adults. The dual-impact nature of our program is what makes it so unique: by providing local students with the opportunity to make an impact half-a-world-away, they learn how to make a difference right here at home. We’ve learned that generosity affects the giver just as much as the recipient.
Often, what our local students are able to give during supply drives are gently-used books. When Sister Schools realized that these gifts were not making it into the hands of their intended recipients, we were faced with a decision: help our Ugandan partners store the books safely and securely, or tell our kids they can no longer donate books. Not only would this mean that less local students could participate in our program and learn to change the world, but there would be a traumatic impact on our Ugandan students.
Liz Silva, a Board Member, educator, and the US-lead of our Skype Sessions, says “literacy is essential to all areas of academic success. And for our Ugandan students, reading can mean the difference between a continued education or an early entrance into the working world . . . The more books we can get into the hands of students, the greater the impact that the local students have made.
As Ugandan schools reopened to all students in January after almost two years of pandemic closures, students were more excited than ever to return to reading. Some of the first questions that were asked by students were “when would the Resource Center be open for them to check-out books?”
We are so excited to relaunch our Literacy Training Workshops and Skype Sessions this summer – but first we need your help.
Several of our Resource Centers require structural repairs in order to fully reopen to their students.
At Mukono Town Muslim Primary School, a leak in the ceiling went undetected when the school was forced to shutter its doors during the Delta and Omicron waves last spring. For almost nine months, water ate away at the shelving and books, completely destroying them in spots. Instead of being easily accessible to the students, books are shoved into every nook and cranny of the remaining shelves and teachers hope that new holes do not develop in the roof.
At Lutengo Primary School, a bat infestation grew out of control while the school was closed. Not only do the animals need to be removed and the roof replaced, but several shelves and books were damaged by the nocturnal residents. Students continue to use the Resource Center despite the disturbance caused by the critters, but the bats remain a threat not only to the books and shelving, but to the health and safety of the children.
During the pandemic, massive demographic shifts occurred as many families left the cities and urban areas, relocating closer to extended family and the villages they grew up in. Sittankya Primary School saw a 22% increase in enrollment between 2019 and 2022. Headteacher Esther secured outside funding and gave the school an incredible facelift, including dormitories, a new well, and a library with a full-time librarian. However, this final project was not completed as they struggle to add enough shelving to the room. In order to join our Literacy Training Program and truly take advantage of all of Ruth’s expertise, they need your help.
Our damaged Resource Centers were not the only challenge to greet returning students and educators. Teachers continue to struggle with their students, schools must meet new, strict hygiene standards in order to remain open, and materials to keep students clothed and in school continue to dwindle.
Repairing our Resource Centers is just the first step in addressing these challenges – what we hope to be the final push our partners need in order to return to “normal.”
You can make a difference in Uganda today – make a donation and help us raise $3,500 to complete repair the Resource Centers and libraries in these three partner schools so their students can enjoy reading once again.