CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Mission: To free the children from grief, problems at home and give them an integral education which involves spiritual, academic, vocational spheres and to develop their talents.
Vision: That the vulnerable, the orphans and the poor children have capacity to live a good life, are self-reliant and grow as God fearing people.
In 1995 I was appointed as parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Kyamuliibwa Parish. In this parish I met with the following problems:
• Many parents had died of AIDS leaving their children helpless
• Other diseases like Malaria and Cholera were rife many people died from them
• Refugees from the war in Rwanda contributed to the large numbers of helpless people and children.
These unfortunate people often only had torn clothing, no proper homes and many were starving. The percentage of orphans was very high.
I could see that not only did these orphans need catechesis but also the elementary rights of all humans, food, clothing, warmth and love. Further to these being provided then they must have education bringing hope for the future – this was my challenge.
So, in 1997 I began organising what I could do to help. I started with 12, a small number, so we could build on experience and knowledge as we grew. The children came to the parish, had catechesis the helped with some work, had food and went back ‘home’. But many did not have homes so I started staying in the parish with them, it led to many difficulties, was not a simple thing to organise, I could see more had to be done.
How St Kizito Mugigi School began, and how it simultaneously became a home for the orphans:
In 1998 the year of the Holy Spirit, I and some parishioners were inspired to begin a basic school which could give formal, vocational and catechetical education.
The same school if successfully established was to become a home for the orphans and other displaced poor children. On 9th February 1998 the school began with 30 pupils, some of whom had their classes under the shade of a tree.
By the end of the year, the head teacher of the school, Sister Maria Mugagga, had registered 115 children, 99 of them managed to complete the year.
God Blessed our School!!! In 1999 the school left the Mongo Tree and moved to a shed of cloth. Later on it managed to get seven classrooms funded by KOCH Foundation USA. It was a double Blessing as these classrooms served also for some time as dormitories.
We thank God that in 2006/7 the mission group from Germany built a dormitory for the orphan girls, and later on they constructed one for the boys. These are homes for the children, at the moment we look after 260 primary and 60 secondary school orphans. In addition to these we care for 40 helpless children who have poor and/or displaced families. I simply could not look at them and ignore their plight, they need education, as do many more children in the villages who have not had the chance of someone helping them, or they go to the government schools who cannot afford scholastic materials. I am hoping and asking God to send some people who can help them and assist them in schooling and in care.
Some schools are very poor, like this one above.
Last year in Oct 2010 I was transferred to another parish called St James Kyansi, about 25 miles away from St Kizito Kyamuliibwa. As before, the parish is laden with the burdens resulting from AIDS/HIV and other myriad killer diseases.
This school in my new parish, is the best one, but is in a dangerous condition, we need to build a safer school in the future.
As a founder of St Kizito Kyamuliibwa School and orphanage, I still direct the school. The school team however, help to keep all going on day to day needs. The work is going smoothly as we have a good team; the new Parish Priest, The management Committee, good Matrons, counsellors and teachers. One of the teachers there is a former child project of ours who became a teacher last year in one of the Teachers Colleges; we expect some more in future.
In this, my new parish, we are presently beginning the construction of a new wing in one of the schools for the poor; this will help us to train more orphans and poor children of the parish.
One may ask why the orphanage and school are as one unit, and why orphans are not separated from other children, the first reason is that it is much less expensive to manage, more importantly experience has taught us that when you separate orphans from other children in families, the orphans suffer from grief, despair and sadness, this is a great hindrance to their development.
If we keep them away from ‘normal’ children they miss the interaction and miss also the learning that different companionships bring. The well-to-do in our parish pay a bit more money to help keep standards up and redress the balance.
In practice, we give special attention to the nursery and primary school children, this doesn’t mean we neglect the older students, but the small children need more attention as they are still very young. We are not yet able to build a secondary school/institution, when our children finish primary school they are placed in secondary schools, we have a good number now of students in the vocational and secondary schools of the church.
What is taught to orphans, and what do they do at present:
The children are guided in how to pray; every morning and evening they say prayers and the Rosary. At least one class visits the Blessed Sacrament for 30 minutes weekly, the visit is on a daily basis and each class attends in its turn. The school is fortunate to have a Blessed Perpetual Adoration Chapel at the parish Church in the vicinity. We firmly believe that the success of our project is due to, and dependent upon, Jesus the Good Samaritan who is always a caring and loving God. Glory be to Him.
The children are taught Luganda, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Art and Religion.
They do gardening once a week in the plantations and in the greenhouse. They are also taught how to do bricklaying, making bricks, carpentry, catering, needle work, typing and hand craft. We hope to begin tailoring lasses as soon as we get sewing machines.
Development of Talent:
The local cubs and Associations of Holy Childhood, Xaverians, Scouting, Legion of Mary, Drummer Club and Debating Club all help us in this area. These Clubs and Assn help the children develop both their spiritual and social talents, they learn and become involved with Evangelisation in the local areas and further afield.
The Children sing and dance, and have made their first DVD. The certificate below is awarded to them for participating in a festival; they enjoy entering many festivals and always come out as number one in their performance.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
In all these teachings, observations and involvement in Community Life, the children are helped to remain staunchly pro-Christ, pro-life and pro- work.
The children and staff of the orphanage have made DVD’s and Christmas Cards, these are on the market. Those who buy them will be giving to the projects; Mary Frost of Our Lady in Kempston Church (Bedford, England) has volunteered to sell them in her area too.
A vote of thanks to the people of St Joseph’s and Our Lady of Kempston Catholic Churches in Bedford.
I wish with all my heart to thank you for the great work you have done, and are doing, for our children.
When we told you last year (2010) of the fact that the orphanage had no kitchen or dining hall you came to our aid. The food used to be cooked outside, which consumed a lot of firewood, and the children were served the food seated on the ground.
There was no place to keep the crockery and utensils (the classrooms have become out of necessity, a storage place for everything). Thanks be to God that with your contribution plus some local money we were able to start building the Kitchen Wing. Then, in 2011 you gave us more help which will enable us to finish plastering, install the stoves and constructing the floor of the Wing. May the Good Lord reward you here and in the hereafter.
We still need help to buy furniture, cupboards and the like, to complete the work.
The new Dining Room and Kitchen, the outside is basically complete.
1. Children Sponsorship Programme
The education and care for the children has mostly depended on kind people who have sponsored them by paying their fees. The money they pay buys food, bedding, clothes, medicine, pays teaching and non-teaching staff, basically it pays for all their needs. I am happy to report that some children have already received sponsors from UK who have decided to pay the fees annually. Currently all the sponsors come from St Joseph, Our Lady in Kempston and The sacred Heart parishes. I thank these people and will pray for them.
I am still very hopeful for more sponsors, companies or individuals who would like to do this please inform me by email, or tell Canon Seamus the Parish Priest of St Josephs, he will inform you of what to do.
The amount requested for each child may vary; it depends on the capacity and needs of the child. If you want your orphan to receive all care and reside in the dormitory, it would be £20 a month (£240 annually)
If however, your child would only receive basic essentials and lunch and would not reside in the dormitory, it would be £10 or less being £120 or less per annum.
You should not be ashamed or discouraged if you can only manage the lesser fee or not even that, we are grateful for all. Even when a particular child is not helped, a donation will still help keep the school and the orphanage running.
For more information please consult:
Michael Simmonds or Philip Hills, they are but a few of the people who are helping us but can guide you.
Future projects to ensure self-reliance and continued well-being for the children:
1. These plans are for the future, we hope to begin farm and transport projects, but land would need to be purchased and would cost £15,000 or more.
2. A mini-bus taxi to raise daily income would be of great help. A second hand mini-bus in Uganda would cost ********
3. Build houses for renting, this will in future give the orphans constant income and self-reliance.
May the Lord bless all who will kindly help these innocent, suffering children of Uganda. Through the intercession of our of our Ugandan Martyrs and in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we believe all will be possible, thank you.
Fr Boniface Kaayabula
Parish Priest, St James Parish, Uganda
Record of Pictures
This artwork, used as a Watermark on Page 4, was created by the children in Arts & Crafts Lessons, one of their best productions.
Some of the local schools are in very poor shape indeed.
This is considered a good school, but it is in a dangerous condition and needs rebuilding.
The children enter, and come top in, many festivals, they enjoy participating and showing off their talents.
The new dining and kitchen building that is partially finished and is supported by donations.