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Uganda: Alumni reflections on St Denis.

Enough of me telling you what's going on here in Uganda, here are two accounts by St Denis graduates telling us what they are doing now and how the skills they learnt at St Denis are helping them. The accounts are summaries of interviews recently recorded for the upcoming St Denis film: 

Uganda: The parents are on board.

The fifth St Denis Business, the Posho (or maize) Mill, is soon to be under way, once fundraising for the electricity permit reaches its target. The poor old mill has been waiting for its electricity connection for some time, after the electricity board demanded 25 million Ugandan shillings (Around £6000) for installation of a transformer. That’s a lot of cash for a remote Ugandan community!

Uganda: Keeping focussed in Term 2.

The remote Makondo community has been busy with the coffee harvest these last few months, with any spare time spent picking coffee beans in the plantations. Nearly every home has been surrounded with drying beans for weeks and weeks and people are getting ready to celebrate cashing in on their crop. Mills are pumping away to remove the husks ready for beans to be sold for roasting.

Uganda: Utilising the holidays.

During the easter holidays, students created a rota for working at the St Denis computer business, so they could assist with serving customers, as well as registering for email accounts and brushing up on their typing skills. Eight students came for two days each, and learnt how to photocopy, email, design invitations and calculate the monthly income.

Uganda: The impact of cultural attitudes on girls' education.

Girls are often denied the same educational opportunities as boys due to cultural attitudes and poverty. Although these factors vary from country to country, there are trends that highlight the lack of opportunities for girls worldwide. This area has become a priority for many global organizations, including the World Bank who state that ‘Girls’ education and the promotion of gender equality in education are vital to development, and policies and actions that do not address gender disparities miss critical development opportunities.’1

Uganda: Learning by doing.

As the sun sets on term one, its time for the school to reward those students who have shown real commitment to the St Denis Self Sufficiency project and learning new skills over the past 10 weeks.

(Being on the equator, the sun in Makondo sets at 7:00pm for the whole year.)

Uganda: More about Med.

Katongole Mohammed (from the clan of the cow) is a 17 year old Senior 2 boarding student at St Denis Makondo. His family is from a village some 10 km away from the school and consists of Mum, Dad, 4 brothers and 3 sisters. His Mother and Father undertake several income activities in order to support their family, including farming matooke, beans and maize, the staple foods in the district. The majority of the food grown is eaten by the family, but excess is sold to other community members who come by the house to purchase.

Uganda: The rain has finally come.

The ups and downs of March have made it an exciting month but everyone is breathing a sigh of relief since the rains have finally arrived and the landscape is rapidly returning to it’s lush green colour. The extended dry season had made life difficult for families in the district, since the ground was too hard for digging, water sources were further away and muddy, and a shortage of food meant unaffordable prices for many people. 

Uganda: Lets make some money!

Term 1 is now in full swing across the region, and with elections and valentines day (a very big deal) out of the way, St Denis students can now fully focus on their studies. I have been enjoying maths, entrepreneurship, agriculture and geography lessons, and finding that my GCSE maths is a little rusty! 

Uganda: Predictable results

Hopefully many of you have been thinking about Uganda recently what with all the election coverage… yes they took place last Friday and the results were officially announced on Sunday evening with President Museveni maintaining leadership.

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