One week after returning from Uganda in April of this year, we heard from our Ugandan team that the classroom blocks at Kishunju Primary School, housing students from Nursery class through to P5, had been totally destroyed in a storm. This news was particularly worrying, given the fact that there were students inside the classrooms at the time. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured, which is a miracle considering the damage that was caused. The classrooms that collapsed were old, made from mud and wood, and were not at all fit for purpose.
(Inside one of the classrooms just before the storm)
This is not an attempt to lie blame at the door of the school, not at all. But it is the sad reality that faces many primary schools across Uganda. They are so bereft of resources, teaching staff and financial support that they have to deal with what they have. It’s actually incredible that students and teachers turn up to class each day and are motivated to learn in such an environment.
(Some of the students of Kishunju outside the devastated classroom block after the storm)
The Arden students who had recently visited the village had already decided that they wanted to support Kishunju as part of their legacy project, and this process was expedited when the terrible news of the storm reached us here in the UK. The money that was raised by Arden was enough to make an immediate start on the new classroom block, and work was underway by the end of April. At the same time, our fundraising team in the UK did an incredible job of raising money and we were able to get enough money together to build all of the required classrooms, to a safe and usable standard.
(One of the new classroom blocks (to the right) under construction earlier this year)
We decided that we would then use the summer and early autumn months to fundraise to complete the plastering and painting of the classrooms, as we simply didn’t have enough money to undertake the whole project in one go. It wasn’t just The Zuri Project and its supporters that contributed to this project. Many members of the PTA of the school and fellow community members contributed whatever they could, including bricks, small amounts of money and even food for the labourers who were undertaking the work.
(Students outside one of the classroom blocks after the initial building work had been completed)
In what was one of our quickest projects ever, we were delighted to learn that by the end of May, the classrooms were being used by the students and we were well on our way to achieving our fundraising total to finish off the classrooms. As I write, the finishing touches are being added to the new classroom block at the school, and as always, I’m so thrilled with what our Ugandan team have been able to achieve in such a short space of time.
You can watch a short video here of Monica and some of the team showing you the progress they have made with the project thus far.
Upon completion of the classrooms, I will share another post with lots of photographs to show you just how significant the improvements will be to Kishunju Primary School. A huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in fundraising for this project – we couldn’t have done it without you!