Building the Blocks of Education in Masaka, Uganda

In Uganda, only 52 percent of children complete primary school. If they make it to high school, only 17 percent of those children graduate. The prospects beyond high school of a vocation or higher education are even smaller.

In 2005, two women parishioners from a congregation in Renton, Washington came together to raise funds to support the education and welfare of orphans in Masaka, Uganda. There are an estimated 1,000 children living on the streets of Masaka. Many are orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, some are abandoned and some are runaways from abusive families.

The original funds gathered, starting in 2005, fueled operations at Jeremiah’s Home. This was the original base that served children in the community. Younger children lived at the home while others, mostly teenagers, lived in the dormitories at high school.

The staff at Jeremiah’s Home conducted regular outreach to children on the streets to gain their trust, which was often difficult. They provided medical care and a daily meal. Over time, more children accepted a placement in a boarding school to continue their education.

The Masaka Children’s Fund, what grew out of operations at Jeremiah’s House, continues to provide educational support, but has also expanded into providing funding for water systems, schools and a medical clinic to benefit impoverished areas in southern Uganda. This expanded support model ensures that educational needs, as well as health and economic needs of the children are being met. It also ensures that the local economy receives a short-term stimulus to propel innovation and quality of life.

NuHope Street was created with the objective to help children in a variety of ways. Our passion is a focus on local and global impacts in the areas of medicine, education, family and community programs. Through our work, we want to ensure that funds raised have a direct impact on the organizations we work with.

For the children of Masaka, the barrier to a good education is often a lack of money, especially for orphaned children. At a rate of $50 per month, a child is covered for room, board and school fees, and in the 11 years of work by the Masaka Children’s Fund, recipients of support have gone on to graduate from high school and take up careers as veterinarians, electricians, business majors, ordained clergy, teachers and nurses.

But for NuHope Street and Spoked to Ride, we have one objective in mind, helping Catherine.

Catherine was a young girl rescued from the streets of Masaka. After getting her education, she returned to her community with a teaching degree in May of 2016. Today she teaches kindergarten thru 6th grade, 269 students in total, in the southernmost part of Masaka in not much more than a shack that serves as the school. The children in attendance sit on dirt floors and conduct their lessons by writing in the dirt. We’re hoping to change that.

Our goal is to help Catherine by raising funds for 100 desks, so the children can get out of the dirt and have a proper place to learn. The cost for all of the desks is $2,800. It’s also important to give the children a safe and weather-proof place to learn, so we are also raising funds to make repairs to the building, which costs in total $15,000. We need your help.

A key question we ask ourselves at NuHope Street is, "What did we help to create?" When you support Spoked to Ride it’s easy to see what you can create. You create an opportunity for children to learn and grow with the proper tools. You create a safe and dry place for them to get an education that will benefit their community in the future. You create new hope for the next generation of Ugandan children to become positive leaders among their countrymen.