This guest blog post was written by GFC partner BaNgaAfayo Initiative Uganda.
In early September, over 500 children – both out-of-school children and those at risk of dropping out of school due to a lack of basic school supplies – attended our annual Back to School Drive! At BaNgaAfayo Initiative Uganda, we also offer remedial after-school programs to help students catch up in math and literacy, using interactive, play-based methodologies to improve attendance, retention, and outcomes.
The Back to School Drive was held at our community center in the remote village of Nakaziba, in the Kayunga District of Uganda. Our staff and volunteers not only provided school supplies to underserved children but also handed out free reusable sanitary pads to help girls stay in school during their menstrual periods. The event also featured a girls’ health talk about menstrual hygiene, a community event with food, and fun sports and games for kids to give them the opportunity to engage with each other and learn through play.
Where we work, over 80% of the population is dependent on low-level subsistence farming that barely provides for their needs. Many families survive on just one meal a day and have no viable source of income. It is nearly impossible for these families to educate their children because they cannot afford basic supplies like books, pens, pencils, or uniforms. Without support, these children either never go to school or fall behind and are unable to catch up, stuck in a multigenerational cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
As part of our effort to keep all kids learning, our Back to School Program ensures that children from low-income families in Nakaziba village receive the tools they need to catch up and succeed in school. Thanks to the support from Global Fund for Children through the PEAK initiative, over 500 children were able to benefit from this year’s event, receiving backpacks stuffed with grade-level-appropriate supplies.
“The Back to School Program is just one of many ways that BaNgaAfayo Initiative Uganda is working to support families living in poverty,” explained BaNgaAfayo Team Leader Joseph Ddiba. “Distributing needed school supplies to families frees up their financial resources to pay for health care and grow some food to feed their children.”
The program also aims to empower adolescent girls by providing them with the resources and knowledge to complete their education and safeguard their health. The cost of sanitary pads is prohibitive for countless girls and young women in the Nakaziba area, leading many to resort to unsafe substitutes or to skip school for the duration of their periods. Supplying adolescent girls with sanitary pads enables them to attend school without interruption and keep up with their schoolwork.
At BaNgaAfayo, we champion education for students in need and make it a priority to establish equality in the classroom, challenging the income disparities children face to improve educational opportunities and academic outcomes. We continually seek partnerships with new donors and organizations dedicated to making a difference in the educational sphere, and with the support of organizations like GFC, we look forward to serving even more children, schools, and communities to help young learners succeed in the classroom.
Header Photo: BaNgaAfayo staff participating in the sack race. © BaNgaAfayo Initiative Uganda
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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