They live in abject poverty deprived of the basic necessities of life: dignified access to food and nutrition, acceptable living conditions, psychosocial resources critical to development and health, legal and social protection, education, and health care.
There is no stronger weapon against poverty disparity, early marriages and teenage pregnancies other than education. We are making great strides towards gender parity in our community.
Today, we are proud to say that 200 Grace Villa girls are enrolled in Pre Primary, Primary, Secondary School, University and Vocational Training schools. Each child receives school fees, uniforms, sanitary protection, shoes, a backpack, and all essential scholastic materials. We assist each child where needed with homework and after school tutoring. They have full access to our computers, and books in the Grace Villa library. They are facilitated to go on school field trips.
Grace Villa is actively involved in the Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) of the different schools in which the children are enrolled. We also attend career sessions and meetings convened at the schools to discuss the individual academic development, career guidance and discipline challenges of our girls. Because we have built relationships with these schools, class teachers pay extra attention to our children. Most of the classes are large, also this ensures that our children do not fall between the cracks. We are constantly wary of the girls growing a lazy dependency or complacent syndrome that is typical of children who receive sponsorship.
We are grateful to the school administrations of Trinity College Kabale, Alliance High School in Nansana, and Mbarara Girls School who continue to give the girls subsidized fees structures, and patiently extend grace periods regardless of our often tardy and staggered school fees payments.
We are glad to report that despite the constant struggle to raise school fees, we never ended any 2018 school term in debt. We managed to achieve this mighty feat because of the support we received from individual child sponsors, general donations, fundraising activities, income generating activities, scholarships and bursaries, as well as corporate responsibility donations.
The majority of our primary school children attend Kabale Primary School (fondly known as Demo), one of the pioneer community founded and government aided primary schools in Kabale town which used to be Kabale Demonstration school, where teachers in teacher training school did their practicals.
The rest of the students are enrolled in Makanga Primary School, Hornby Primary School, Lower Bugongi Primary school, Amazing Love school and Peace School. Our Secondary school girls are enrolled at Trinity College Kabale, Kigezi High School, St Mary’s College Rushoroza, Kabale Secondary School, Brainstorm, Creamland in Kabale, Mbarara Girls School in Mbarara, Immaculate Heart in Rukungiri, and Alliance High School in Nansana.
All Primary school students must sit for Primary Leaving (PLE) exams, while High School students sit for Advanced Level Exams (A-Level). 100% of our students graduated to the next level of their education. 40% of our students passed their exams in the top 90th percentile.
It is important to note here that 6 girls at Creamland were recruited by the school because of their soccer talent, and receive 100% school fees bursaries.
Fourteen of our girls who are currently in Senior three and above received a fantastic opportunity: a scholarship for an online computer training course in programming and coding at UDACITY, a wellknown Information Technology School in Cambridge Massachusetts. They stay on track with the support of online instructors, peers and coaches. Courtesy of our 1st volunteer and longtime supporter of Grace Villa, Susan Smith.
One of our pioneer girls at Grace Villa, Phiona Kiconco, was admitted at the Uganda Christian University, Bishop Barham campus, for a Bachelors of Business Administration degree course also Musiimenta Doreen was admitted to Kyambogo University for a Bachelor of Arts with Education.
Paying school fees and providing scholastic necessities is our biggest financial challenge with an annual bill of about 22,000USD. As the children grow up and advance to Secondary School and on to University, the school fees bill multiplies. For example, a child who advances to High school from Primary school will multiply her school fees by 8.