On Thursday we visited Hope Primary School and were welcomed by girls singing, “This little light of mine” before sharing a poem about menstruation and an interactive demonstration of the six steps for effective hand-washing.
This school began 23 years ago with a man of vision and 15 students under a mango tree. It is now the top performing primary school in the Busaro District. During the most recent school year 77.5% of students achieved the highest level of performance. Additionally, we learned through its partnership with Knickers for New Life student enrollment has increased and the overall value of the girl child has been elevated.
Boys benefit too!
Leadership meeting with Chris, Head of School (right end of table) and his staff
These are not minor feats especially in light of the following reported by the Borgen Project:
- The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) reported that more than 700,000 girls in Uganda between the ages of six to 12 have never attended school. In fact, around halfof girls between the ages of 15 to 24 are illiterate and four in five girls do not attend high school.
- Teenage pregnancy rates are some of the highest in the world. The national average is 24 percent.
- Uneducated girls are highly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases as well as other health complications. Health issues put girls at a risk of not continuing their education. In 2015, around 567 young people between the ages of 15 to 24 contracted HIV/AIDS on a weekly basis. A staggering 363 of these young adults were female.
These statistics are not merely as sobering as meeting girl children in Uganda who without the support of KFNL would likely be forced to drop out of school after beginning menstruation.
Visiting Hope Primary School demonstrated the impact that a culture of health, success and achievement fosters – children, girls in particular who as one faculty member said know “their bodies are gifts from God and are not to be ashamed.” Their little lights coupled with great vision and the appropriate resources are shining brightly.