A new school in Uganda : Seventy days from conception to inauguration.
A Ray of Hope, UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace, is always delighted, and very grateful, to receive the support from David Tyler Trust, Ulster Teachers’ Union and Classic Kitchens.
It was 70 days ago, 14th December, 2015, or thereabouts, that Daniel and I got wrapped up in a period of madness. ( Daniel is our project director in Uganda ) Encouraged by each other, an emotional mutual symbiosis or, “the blind leading the blind”, we decided to involve ourselves in the most adventurous of initiatives. We kept it secret, maybe because of the fear of failure. Our primary school would soon ( in maybe 3 years !), demand an “add on” for our students at secondary level, and also a community was discovered that needed the educational institution : we therefore decided to venture upon a new path.
The first premises perused, although suitable, did not have all of the attributes needed – that site was soon replaced in our focus, by a more appropriate location. The new site had 6 classroom size rooms, plus a storage area and office space.
The journey had started.
As the weeks progressed, with positive steps every day, we aimed for the possible opening date as 22nd February.
The buildings were scrubbed – and then painted. The demands by young adults for self improvement determined the nature of the resource and name. “Hermitage Community Secondary School and Vocational Centre.”
A management committee was formed, with representatives from various stake holding groups, teachers advertised for, interviewed, and tested. Potential students were spoken to, and a strategy was determined for enrolment.
Furniture was needed, also text books stationary and other educational expendables.
As it is important for every child to have a mid day meal, so equally essential for our students. It seemed natural, aware that a kitchen was needed, that our friends in Classic Kitchens, Aghalee would assist, and on the day of the school opening the kitchen was completed.
So 70 days from conception, the school doors were unlatched for the first 13 students quickly followed by 17 more and 5 vocational students. Day 3. 24th February – an enrolment of 35 pupils including vocational.
Plans for the future include hairdressing and fashion design, and of course a school badge and uniforms. Only a dream away, and with support like that of, David Tyler Trust, Classic Kitchens and Ulster Teachers’ Union the reality is around the corner.Much yet to be thought of, and discussed, but it is more than a start !!!!