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First, the number of pupils of the school has increased with more than 100. When I first visited the school in September 2017, I was informed that there were around 190 pupils, today there are more than 300. This increase concerns two groups of children. There are the children from further away, who were previously not going to school at all and who, thanks to the boat are now offered opportunities to do so; and there are those children who were previously every day struggling their way to another, far away located school, walking many hours, even having to climb steep hills, because they didn’t feel safe crossing Lake Bunyonyi using a canoe. The maximum number of pupils the school can accept is 350.
Due to the undisputed importance of education for each and every child, the increase of the number of pupils is of course great news!
Second, time management of the school has greatly improved. Before the boat was introduced, it took at least two hours every morning to transport all pupils to school with the formerly used canoes. From that followed that there was a huge problem with time management. Every day the number of hours during which pupils could be taught was falling short. The problem was even worse on bad weather days. Bad weather causes the lake to become pretty rough and parents would often choose not to send their children to school on such days; when bad weather was foreseen later on the day, the staff had to send the children home ahead of time for them to be able to cross the lake before it would get rough.
Last, but not least, we are most grateful to see that, thanks to the local community joining hands with us and tourists booking the boat for recreational trips, costs for fuel and future maintenance can be covered and therewith the children’s every day safe transport over the lake can be guaranteed.
We are very excited about these wonderful results, but also we are aware that a lot more is still needed for Bwama Primary School. While a second boat project is in progress, there is a great need for life jackets for the new children that have joined the school following the introduction of the first boat and also, more landing docks are urgently needed.
The need for life jackets will not require much explanation. In the event of an emergency with the boat where the children get into the water, wearing a life jacket will keep them safe until help arrives.
There are five places where the children of Bwama Primary School gather in groups every school day. In the morning they gather there to be picked up by the boat, late in the afternoon they are transported back there. With the safe and stable boat being much higher than the formerly used dangerous canoes, boarding and disembarking on the banks without landing docks is a big problem for many children and also, pushing the boat back into the water from the banks is a heavy task.
In January, we have, thanks to generous donations, been able to construct two out of the five needed landing docks and, as can be seen in the video below, at those places the children can easily board the boat.
Yet, we are still left with three landing places where docks are needed. The video below shows how the children have to struggle to board the boat at these places and how especially many of the younger children need help to get on board.
Please consider making a donation today that will help us towards realizing the three remaining and much needed landing docks, as well to buy more life jackets for the children.
Every contribution, no matter how small, will of course be highly appreciated!
HWMCO-Nederland & NiCA-Foundation
‘We Fight Poverty by Bringing Development.’
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