Our primary focus in 2012 was to provide bright, motivated students the opportunity to attend secondary school. We started with 15. What we quickly realized was that sending them to school was not enough. They needed support.
In 2013, we began the Mentor Program to provide the students with academic, emotional, and social support to enhance their experience and performance both at school and at home.
Several of the students are exclusively sponsored by individuals, families, schools, Rotary Clubs, and small businesses. We are so grateful to these supporters and would not be able to keep our students in school without them.
Aside from keeping our students in school both through the Mentor Program and scholarships, we realized over the last year and a half that they need additional academic support. The majority of our students sit in classrooms with between 80-100 other students. The amount of time and support provided to them by a teacher is minuscule. In order to bridge the gap we began to develop support programs to assist our students academically over their holidays. Writing workshops, study skills trainings, and a Holiday Tutoring Center have been instrumental in their academic growth.
Our academic support programs are in their earliest stages and we have been successful in implementing pilot projects. In order to continue to offer additional programs for the students, we need financial support! The students are unable to pay for these projects; however, they show sincere commitment by spending time and money transporting themselves to the programs. Our favorite example was when Opiyo Simon Alexis (sponsored by LaGrange Rotary) was in Senior 2, he rode his bicycle from his remote village in Amuru District to Gulu (over 2.5 hours each way) so he would not miss the two day writing workshop! Our students leave us speechless on a regular basis.