Enrollment doubles at Hope Academy

Hope Academy enrollment doubles from 64 at end of 2008 to over a 125 students at the beginning of 2009 academy year which started on February 02. Boys: 74 and Girls: 51. Teachers: 12. The number of orphan students needing sponsorship also increased. However, if we can get sponsorship for teachers, it allows to accept many orphans without worrying much about invidual student sponsorships. Currently, we have many unsponsored orphans we allow to study.

I believe that education is the only way to ensure a brighter future for these kids trapped in poverty and despair. I personally grew up in poverty in the same villages of Masaka and had little sense of hope – enduring the embarrassment of being turned away from school many times because I had not completed tuition or for not having a uniform, missing an entire semester of school so that the little money we had could allow my older siblings in upper classes finish high school, going through school without having access to books, biking seven miles to school without shoes, I understand how tough life is for these children. I was much older, right after high school, when my father was killed, but life was tough and my hope for a brighter future declined more. But I was resilient and determined to pursue my dreams. It’s because of the education which my parents sacrificed for, that I have been able make great strides in life and achieve my dreams.

Many other children of rural Uganda, just like me and you, have bigger dreams and hopes for a better future. It is my wish and personal commitment that these children don’t live to see their dreams shattered, but have the opportunity to realize their fullest potential. Education will enable them take charge of their destiny and build their communities. They will be the engines of sustainable development for Uganda and Africa as a whole. Thanks for joining me and URF in the efforts to reduce the pains of struggling through school these kids endure, like I experienced growing up. A bright future for them will unfold a global human family of harmony and peace for us all – may be not for our generation, but the generations of our children and grandchildren.

NEED: $950 a month to cover teachers’ salaries. $150 a month per full time teacher. Any help is appreciated. You can donate online (http://www.ugandaruralfund.org/) or check to Uganda Rural Fund at 300 Fraser Purchase Rd, Latrobe, PA 15650.

Below are personal stories of some of our students at Hope Academy:

Issa Mugerwa, 17, S.2 (Grade 9)

“Integrated Academy has tried to help me achieve my goal.

For two years I was at home without going to school. In our village I had a friend called Oliver, she told me, “between Kyetume and Mbiriizi there is a school which has started to teach students in an after school program. It is called Hope Integrated Academy.”

For me, it was a miracle because I was at home for two years. The next day I came with her and I started to study in the After School Program. Then teacher Fred told us we were going to start a senior secondary school here and he would like all of us who had finished primary to join this school. Oh! I was very excited about that but I had the problem of paying fees. At that time I didn’t know what I could do to join the secondary school.

The day which the school began I came to see teacher Fred for him to tell me whether I was going to join the secondary school. However he wasn’t there, he had gone to Masaka.

The next day was Tuesday. I came and I saw him and he told me, “Issa, we are trying as hard as we can to look for a sponsor for you but do not be afraid.” At that time I started to feel proud because he had told me that they were trying to look for a sponsor for me.

On Wednesday I came in the morning and met Fred and he told me, “Issa, I have good news for you.” Oh! To hear those words from him I was very happy. Then he told me that I have got a sponsor. My God, I was very excited about that. From that day up to now I’m very happy.

So now, I know that Hope Integrated Academy has already started helping me to achieve my goal. Due to the high standards Hope started with I know that I will continue to graduate correctly under God’s aim.

After I finish, I would like to be a doctor because I’m interested in biology and maths. So now, that is why Hope Integrated Academy has already started to help me to achieve my goal.”

Florence Namirimo, 18, S.2 (Grade 9)

I am 18 years old. I am a student of Hope Integrated Academy. I live in Kyawagonya Village. My family consists of three brothers, two sisters, my mother and my aunt. I live with my aunt. I want to study but my aunt does not have the money to pay for school fees. I finished P7 but it was recommended that I stay in school. Because I cannot pay the fees I don’t know if I will be able to complete S4. My mother used to pay for my school fees in primary when she was still working as a fish monger but now she is suffering from AIDS and no longer works. All of my three brothers and two sisters dropped out of school but I want to study and that is why I want to stay in school. Those are my words.

Justine Nakyanzi, S.2 (Grade 9)

I am 14 years old. I am a student at Hope Integrated Academy. My family consists of: both parents, 3 brothers and 2 sisters. My parents are peasant farmers. They work making local alcohol and can’t afford to pay for school fees. My father is 62 years old and my mother is 46 years old. My elder brothers are 17 and 22 and they do not go to school because they lack money. My younger brother is in P2 at the UPE School. My eldest sister is 19 years old and cannot afford to attend school and my younger sister is 12 and attends P5. I don’t live at home with my family. There was someone who came and said that if I worked for them they will pay my school fees. The problem is that because I have to work so much in exchange for my school fees I cannot stay at school to play games and I have no time to study. Now, they have told me they cannot continue to pay the fees. I want to go back to my family but they have no money.

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