We have a long and wonderful relationship with ChristChurch School in Gulu, Uganda. Our activities take place in Gulu, a city in the Northern Region of Uganda. It is the commercial and administrative centre of Gulu District and is approximately 333 kilometres from Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
Ordinary Heros have actively sought out some of the most vulnerable children in the area and are now facilitating the support of 23 beautiful children through school. The Little Heroes Education Programme assists with the provision of children’s clothes/uniform and shoes, books, school meals and other personal or educational supplies to support families, children and schools.
About Little Heros
Their vision for these children is for them to stay enrolled and COMPLETE school, be able to read and write according to their age and to provide them with the best education available. Many children living in poverty don’t have access to good medical care or a balanced diet. Children also have access to medical care and are given the support they need to ensure they stay healthy. They spend time getting to know the home environment and making sure they have all they need to be the best student they can be.
School is not free for any child in Uganda, everyone has to pay. School fees range from 250 a year to 1,500 a year, but considering the average family here in Gulu lives on 7,700 Ugandan Shillings a day, approximately £2.80, paying school fees is simply not a priority, food is. The pupils and community of Rawdon St. Peter's fundraise the cost of education because we too believe that every single child is entitled to a fantastic education. If you are lucky enough to go to school, you are probably the oldest sibling and the oldest boy, the girls tend to miss out.
School life in Uganda is very different to the one we know. Often you will have to wake up early. School starts at 8am and finishes at around 5pm and the roads are very dusty. Whether you walk or go by Boda Boda (motorbike transport) your uniform will be dirty. Every evening children hand scrub their uniform and socks to put them out to dry for an hour before dark ready for the next day. Because they live on the equator, 365 days a year the sun rises at 7am and sets at 7pm. Some of the children walk over 6 kilometres to school everyday. Some of the luckier ones have a bicycle. None of the children ride to school in cars.
If you are not in school you are at home, but you are not watching Netflix or playing video games! You are hoping and waiting for your relatives to try to scrape together enough money to go back to school. At home, there are many tasks. Fetching water, looking after younger siblings, cleaning and cooking and working in the fields. If there is enough money for school fees, there are many extra school requirements to pay for on top of fees. From brooms to school books and uniform and smart shoes, each child must turn up at the gates with everything asked of them, or else risk being sent back home.
It is a seemingly impossible task for many children and their families to fund an education, and a lot of children only manage to pay part of their fees. This is a common occurrence, and however hard a child has worked at school, if they can’t pay their fees in full they are not given their school reports or exam certificates. Their whole year of learning is effectively made worthless. Consequently, many children end up changing schools every term, building up debts wherever they go as they simply can’t afford to pay them.
Classes in Uganda are not based on age because a lot of children drop out and reenter school based on whether or not they can afford to pay the school fees. This means that the children might be in classes with students who are a lot older or a lot younger than them. Whilst this may seem strange, it is of no consequence, as the most important factor is that they all want to learn! There are 1200 children and 10 teachers at the Christchurch school. Some days, there can be over 80 - 100 children in one class. Children here take four main subjects, English, Maths, Science and SST. SST stands for Social Studies, a subject that includes Geography, History and Religious Studies. They are examined at the end of every term in each of these subjects. School year starts February and finishes in December.