What is Royal Pride Academy and where is it?
Royal Pride Academy is a school for about 300 children aged 3 to… 12, 13, 14, 15 – as long it takes a child to complete the curriculum and sit the primary leaving exam. It is situated at the bottom of a valley, in the middle of one of Kampala’s dreadful slums, a mosquito-ridden swamp into which drains all the waste from further up the hill. Before the school was given the land by a local ‘farmer’, it occupied a single hut and lessons took place out of doors. Only 18% of Kampala’s schools are government schools providing ‘free’ primary education. These schools are so over-subscribed that the children of the slum cannot get places, nor afford the ‘top up’ fees which these schools demand. So Godfrey, the headteacher, and a group of parents started their own school: Royal Pride.
Why does Royal Pride need help?
Many of the children are Aids orphans, often brought up by grandparents, and some are HIV positive themselves. Many get malaria because of the swamp, and a few have died of it. The school has no running water or electricity and too few pit-latrines. Some of the families pay what they can, and some need financial support from well-wishers. The school has minimal resources, often made by teachers, for example coating scrap wood with a mixture of charcoal and mashed banana leaves to make blackboards. The teachers do not get salaries. They work for virtually nothing yet with enormous dedication and commitment. There are very few books.
What about the local community?
Royal Pride is a real ‘community school’. Local people have worked hard to raise one of the buildings above the mud, giving their time and skills. They come and help in the school when they can, but they spend most of the day just trying to scrape by.
How can you help?
Royal Pride needs drainage, latrines and a safe water supply. Children need learning materials. Families need help with school fees and advice on health and on caring for their children. VSO volunteers are providing practical support, but some of this needs money. If you can help, please contact me at email@example.com. If you would like to learn more, please read my blog. There are currently three posts devoted to Royal Pride: http://ritchiesinuganda.blogspot.com
6 December 2010