Street Child Opens First Primary School in Palabek, Northern Uganda
Last week was a big moment for Street Child of Uganda as construction was completed of the first of our Ugandan primary schools, as part of our project to transform learning for refugee children in Palabek. The Progressive Primary School has been supported by generous private donors and in large part by Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a major new global fund to transform delivery of education in emergencies.
Prior to the opening of the newest primary school, teacher training was delivered by Street Child of Uganda’s Education Manager Richard, our local partner the African Women and Youth Action for Development (AWYAD) programme coordinator and the education focal person for the UNHCR, to ensure that the students will achieve the highest quality of teaching possible.
On the first day of school, 605 children were enrolled at the primary school and brightly coloured backpacks containing scholastic materials including, exercise books, stationery and maths sets, were distributed to all of the children. By day two, the number of enrolled pupils had already increased to 767 leaving the team considering the possibility of an extension to accommodate more children.
Unfortunately, the number of girls enrolled in the school is currently low, due to attitudes around early marriage, with only 1 girl in P7 (year 6 equivalent in England) and only 3 girls in P6 (year 5 equivalent in England). The team are therefore currently considering developing advocacy programmes which will hopefully increase this number by highlighting the importance of education especially for young girls.
Uganda is hosting one of the world's largest refugee populations, forced to flee their homes, livelihoods and education from conflict in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With conflict still raging, families have no hope of returning home any time soon. Instead, they are stranded in camps where job opportunities are scarce, access to education is extremely limited and living conditions are basic.
Street Child of Uganda’s programme will be helping 5,100 refugee children access an improved quality education in the newest settlement for South Sudanese refugees, in Palabek, Northern Uganda where 7 settlement primary schools, 2 government schools and 1 secondary school currently cater for over 15,000 children, a number which is growing daily. As part of this programme, Street Child will be constructing another primary school and supporting a further three schools with teacher training, teaching materials and WASH facilities.