History of Ruhanga Development School
Ruhanga Development School was built and opened in 2008 at the request of villagers in this rural area of SW Uganda, using money raised by volunteers and visitors staying at the nearby Uganda Lodge. Before opening the school, it was explained to the parents of potential students that although Mzungus (white people) had built the school they could not expect charity from us forever. Between us we agreed to keep the fees at a very low level, making no profit but just collecting enough money to cover the teachers salaries, teaching aids, pencils and books, a free uniform and very importantly a large mug of porridge for each child every morning for breakfast.
Numbers quickly rose and by the start of the new school year in 2009 there were over 40 students attending regularly. However as most families living in the surrounding hills are subsistence farmers there was little spare cash for the little ones school fees. We had been tending to run at a loss with Denis ( our MD ) and Ann McCarthy in the UK subsidising things by buying sacks of maize meal for the breakfasts, and sending out school uniforms, books and pencils sourced from car boot sales and charity shops in the UK.
Why Childdren Were Not Attending
While Ann was out in Ruhanga over Easter 2010, she met with a young Canadian volunteer Kayla Rocca who she was very concerned over the number of young children that were living up in the nearby villages and still not attending school. They did some research, asked some questions, and found that many families had 3 or 4 children between the ages of 3 and 7, some were caring for orphans as well as their own children, and others were single Mums whose husband has passed away and they themselves were not in good health. They were just struggling to grow enough beans and matoke (a green banana steamed and used as a vegetable) and provide the children with a small meal each day.
Records of Children Not Attending
They decided to start a register and get a photographic record of both youngsters who were already attending school but struggling to have their guardians pay their school fees, and others who had never before had the opportunity to attend. A baby nursery was subsequently opened in 2008 in a refurbished chicken shed and they rest, as they say, is history, with new classrooms opening each year and over 400 local students now attending.
What You Can do to help
Today we need you help to make this education a reality for more children by helping us finish building two new classrooms. We need £7,000 to complete this work and you help help us by clicking on the “Donate Button” now and contributing a fiver.