The playgrounds are still experiencing a high level of use, this week Joni and Evelyn visited Lela Obaro Primary School to check on the playgrounds. They found the swings out of order, the seats were no longer useable, having come apart from the chain. A local solution was quickly developed, they used parts from a truck chassis to create a really strong metal seat (see pictures). This seems to work like a charm and the kids are happy to be on the swings again.
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Teddie Primary school was recently visited by Save the Children whom have agreed to pay salaries for seven of the community teachers. A big success for the school as the parents struggle to keep all the community teachers going. The parents will continue to pay for two community teachers at the school. Since the new infrastructure was built by The Ssubi Foundation school enrollment has increased and stable teaching staff is essential for the school to be effective. In the longer term, The Government of Uganda is working on coding Teddie as a government primary school where by paid teachers would be assigned to the school. The community has requested this action and has signed the land over to the government so it always remains a school and to show their commitment to education in the region.
Dusman, Evelyn and Joni recently visited the playground to check up on maintenance. They report that the palenga playground continues to receive high use up until midnight and including use by adults. The swings are a favorite. With heavy use comes the need for regular maintenance. At Palenga all the bolts were tightened, missing ones replaced and all the bolts were welded into place as some of them had been stolen. It seems some of the bolts fit the oxen plough system perfectly and well growing food trumps play:) In addition extra chains were added to the swinging bridge to increase support. There has been talk of fencing the playground off, but this really goes against the idea of building it for the community. Alternatively we might have to hire a night watch man to keep the playground off limits at night and to reduce theft.
Dusman, Evelyn and Joni just had a visit with Teddie Primary School in Amuru District where The Ssubi Foundation built two large classrooms, a staff room, head teachers office and storage room. As the school moved into their new structure, they made the most of the space. The staff room was converted to a P7 classroom, the head teachers office was converted to a staff room and the head teacher had moved into the storage area. We were happy they had made the most of the space and have utilized it to best fit the needs of the school.
The playground at Lela Obaro is also experiencing high use, again the swings are a favorite. All the tire swings needed work, the tire rings had all been broken, they were replaced by metal rings and are once again functioning. The school has organized teams to clean up garbage and rake the playground sand regularly. We are encouraging Palenga to also develop this system to improve safety and neatness of the playground.
Before we left Uganda, Philip, Evelyn and Joni were in Gulu for a few last meetings to tie up lose ends.
This year many of you gave donated items for Teddie Primary School in Amuru District, Northern Uganda. We would like to thank Anyim Projects for their donation to purchase desks, book shelves, staff room table, teacher desks and chairs, Star Ecoworks for donating the solar lateen, Vermeulen family for purchasing textbooks and sporting equipment, a calgary school for donating kids t-shirts and the Emmanuel Foundation for donating bikes. All of these items were handed over to the school and will help to improve the teaching environment. I also forgot to mention we would like to thank the parents at Teddie whom prepared a meal for everyone who attended the opening – including hundreds of parents, community members, invited guests and for all the children. WOW!
The Ssubi Foundation handed over a classroom block, administration offices and latrine block to Teddie Primary School in Amuru District. The building was commissioned by Betty Bigombe (MP for region) and was handed over to the community of Teddie. The ceremony included many performances from Teddie students as well as students from other schools whom had traveled to attend the opening. The support from parents and region was wonderful and together they presented Ssubi with a large male goat named Gadaffi:)
We had a wonderful meeting with most of the 35 members of the RRLWG where they provided us with a progress report of their activities. Last year we supported two initiatives, we provided financial assistance for the group members to train other microloan and savings groups and we purchased some chairs in support of their newly developed event business.
Over the last year the group worked with three other micoloaning and savings groups and a number of improvement were noted, including improved record keeping, opening of group bank accounts to keep finances safe, increased savings amoung group members, introduction of buying shares and retaining 10% of groups savings to accumulate funds. The RRLWG reported there were many other groups requesting similar training. Building on this success, The Ssubi Foundation agreed to continue to support the RRLWG in training other groups.
In addition, the group started with 100 chairs and some tables which they rent out for events. They were able to make some profits and have reinvested into the business through the purchase of more chairs. The group would like to expand the business to include tents which they currently sub contract from other event businesses. They feel their customers would benefit if they were a more holistic service provider. The Ssubi Foundation plans to fundraise over the next year to help with some of the start-up costs associated with the group expanding their business.
The playground at Lela Obaro is now open, thank you Emmanuel Foundation and Mary Tidlund Foundation. We named the playground Mwanda Park in memory of our late engineer who built teacher accommodations, classrooms and a library at the school. I loved the reaction to the tire swings- there were so many kids on it but they were all pushing it different directions so it went no where:) Soon enough it was figured out with after a helpful demonstration.