In preparation for Education Day on January 24, we share the good news of the opening of Holy Family Nursery School, Pagirinya Settlement 2 (a camp that houses South Sudanese refugees fleeing war and danger), in Adjumani District – Uganda.
This donated building was in response to a community need identified through the active engagement of Holy Family Parish Pre-School where Sr. Addise Agago MSC.
The funding aimed to ensure that 240 students attending Holy Family Pre-School, in Pagrinya settlement, have access to an environment conducive to effective learning, well equipped with appropriate learning materials and provide adequate nutrition for their proper growth and development.
About this important event for the entire Institute, the missions in Uganda but especially for the families who are there, Sister Glória Caixeta, MSC (who has been the director of Heart Ministries in Uganda since December) said, “It is wonderful to see the children happy, in the classrooms and on the playground. My heart is truly full of gratitude to God and to all the benefactors who help us fulfill our mission. Everything seems so small in relation to the happiness of the children! Thank God!”.
We then share this report that explains in detail what was donated for this project.
Report on the donation for the Holy Family Preschool, Pagirinya 2 Settlement, Dzaipi Adjumani District – Uganda
In April 2021, Heart Ministries in Uganda received a $25,000 donation from the Generalate. This funding was in response to a community need carped about through the active engagement of the pre school at Holy Family Parish where Sr. Addise Agago MSC teaches. The donation aimed to ensure that 240 students attending the pre-school in the Holy Family Parish in Pagrinya settlement, have access to a conducive environment for effective learning, well equipped with appropriate teaching materials and that they are provided with adequate nutrition for their proper growth and development. From April to November 2021 as a result of this intervention, the following progress was made:
- Successful community mobilization to provide labor, local materials and food for school construction.
- Two school blocks housing 4 classrooms were successfully completed and painted.
- Sanitary facilities (2 for girls, 2 for boys and teachers) were also constructed.
- An office for the principal has been built, which but will also be used as a storage room.
- Supply of teaching materials began in November.
- A fence is also being built around to protect school property. In fact, damage caused to school property due to the lack of fencing has necessitated the construction of fencing that had not been previously planned.
The biggest challenges during this period were the continued disruptions due to COVID 19, which resulted in the early closure of schools for 2021.
Objective 1 – Rehabilitate the school building to provide a space conducive to effective learning.
They had been built provisionally without a good foundation. In fact, the infrastructure consisted of walls made of iron plates, and in very hot weather children could even get burned by touching them. The wood supporting the roof was all damaged and the rooms were not in a condition to accommodate the children for effective learning. So, with the grant from the Generalate, we began to renovate the two buildings. We began the project by meeting with the principal and teachers to assess what the needs of the school were and with local builders to assess a good construction of the building. We decided to rebuild the two infrastructures in the same place as the old ones were, just adding the foundation around them; then the engineer said that building a new foundation would be the same price as one on the old foundation and the decision was made to build the new one. We then discovered that in the budget we had made plans for only one block when in fact it was two blocks that needed to be built. This was happening in the middle of construction so we were concerned that the funds would not be enough to build both buildings. It was also strange that the community could not support the construction through community work and local materials. So, at the end of May, Sr. Diane Dalle Mole came to visit our community and, after discussing the construction situation, a memorandum of understanding was eventually written and signed by the construction manager and myself, Sr. Glória. The memorandum of understanding was then agreed upon and signed. As a result of the collaboration between Heart Ministries and local leadership, the construction of the two buildings was successfully completed providing access to learning for over 200 preschools. Also successful was the construction of restrooms for students and teachers and an office that will also serve as storage for the school. The community is excited about this achievement because students will now come to study in a very conducive space for effective learning during all seasons.
Objective 2 – Provide appropriate instructional materials and furniture to facilitate the learning process.
Procurement of learning materials began in November, with construction of the school now complete. More details will be given in the future for the purchase of school furniture and the construction of the playground for the students.
Objective 3 – Provide adequate nutrition to students by strengthening the school program.
Purchasing food and cooking supplies for the school feeding program began when schools opened in January 2022.
Objective 4 – Guarantee that the school is COVID 19-free by raising awareness and providing the necessary PPE.
COVID 19 prevention education and PPE provision will be done when schools open in 2022.
As can be seen above, significant progress has been made during this period with the successful construction of the four classrooms that will support favorable learning for over 200 kindergarteners. In the remaining period, the project will continue after this excellent milestone with finishing the purchase of educational materials, school furniture, PPE and food items for the students.