Passion For Humanity

what's new

Private donations key to modernizing Uganda's traditional schools

Private donations key to modernizing Ugandas traditional schools

Photo: Kihanga Secondary School ICT Centre will offer a learning environment similar to this.


 The fundraising event for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre at Kihanga Secondary School exceeded my expectation. Held at Kembabazi Restaurant in Naguru, Kampala on Saturday September 16, the event raised UGX 96 million. Another UGX 6 million was donated the following day by two old students, for a total of UGX 102 million. 


This was an outstanding charitable spirit of Ugandans that place high value on education and the need to create opportunities for the young generations and those not yet born. It was an excellent example of partnership with the Diaspora International Community of Banyakigezi (ICOB) which has already committed to spend USD 30,000 (UGX 110 million) on the establishment of a state-of-the-art ICT Centre at Kihanga, as part of that organization’s ongoing program of supporting ICT education in Kigyezi. 


About a half of those who made generous donations were former students at Kihanga. The other half were friends of Kihanga that were born and educated far from Kigyezi. This was a very heartwarming statement about the power of networking and unity towards a shared value. Generous corporate funding by the Ruparelia Foundation, Serena Heights Ltd, and Stanbic Bank exemplified the caring humanity of people who have been blessed with bountiful harvests but have not forgotten their own humble beginnings.


It was wonderful to see senior citizens that once trotted to Kihanga in their formative years, now in retirement after distinguished careers in their chosen professions. Equally pleasing was the presence of the middle-aged whose gifts to the project constitute the bulk of the donations, purely because of numbers. 


Notably absent were the younger generation aged 20-40 years. Without the benefit of interviewing them, one can only speculate about the reasons for their absence. A likely explanation is that many may have felt too financially inadequate to donate money while they were still paying various bills, including school fees for their children. One fully understands that reality. 


However, we are called upon to give, not because we have disposable funds, but because it is part of serving God. Without doubt, supporting the formal education of young people is an important service to God. Happily, God does not care about the amount that we give. He notices and cares about the degree of sacrifice we make to give.


The story of a poor widow in Mark 12: 41-44 and Luke 21: 1-4 is worth recalling. ‘And [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and began observing how the crowd was putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two lepta, which amount to a quadrans. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those putting money into the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.’


The message of the Lord to us is that He does not expect equal giving, but equal sacrifice. He cares about our hearts and the spirit with which we give, not the amount that we give. A lepta was the smallest Greek copper coin, and a quadrans was a Roman copper coin that was equivalent to a penny, which was about 1/64 of a labourer’s daily wage. The Lord was very pleased with the woman’s two copper coins.


In practical terms, this means that the Lord encourages the wealthy to give millions, as so many did for Kihanga, and those with limited means to give what they have or what they can. Give UGX 1,000 (one thousand shillings) if that is all you have. The Lord God, the Board of Governors, and the students at Kihanga will notice, and they will thank you. 


Imagine a happy situation where we get just 1,000 committed people, each giving only UGX 1,000 (one thousand shillings) every month. That would give Kihanga a steady, predictable donated income of UGX 12 million every year. Now, suppose each gives UGX 10,000 per month. The annual donated income rises to UGX 120 million. What if we have 1,000 people willing to sacrificially give UGX 100,000 (one hundred thousand shillings) a month? The annual donor income rises to UGX 1.2 billion. 


With this kind of money, we would be in position to modernise Kihanga Primary and Secondary Schools, turn them into centres of excellence, and make them choice destinations for students from all over the country. The current physical facilities, which have faithfully served thousands of students for many decades, need to be replaced with new buildings, complete with new amenities that offer comprehensive education that is in step with the minimum standards of the twenty-first century. What a way to celebrate the school’s centenary in 2032 that would be! 


This is not a pipedream of an exiled romantic labouring under eternal optimism. It is a realistic and achievable goal that invites all of us to have the vision, the courage, and the faith to do that which foreign pioneers of education in Uganda did more than 120 years ago. European strangers started schools at Mengo (1895), Nabumali (1900), Namilyango (1902), Gayaza (1905), Budo (1906), Kisubi (1906), Mbarara (1911), Kamuli (the future Mwiri) (1911), Gulu (1914), Kyegobe, Tooro (1921), Kitovu (1922), Rugarama, Kabale (1922), Nyakasura (1926), Namagunga (1942), and Nabbingo (1942). 


With donations from strangers in Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, and Germany, these became Uganda’s premier schools, all with excellent track records evidenced by alumni that have served the country and the world very well. With donations by alumni and the community at large, we can also prepare Kihanga for a second century of excellence. We have another opportunity to do so on Thursday October 12, when another fundraising event takes place at the school itself.


Kihanga is not my only interest. I follow the great work by alumni of King’s College, Budo, Gayaza High School, St. Mary’s College, Kisubi, Namilyango College, and Ntare School whose generous donations have modernized these schools. I look forward to learning that the alumni of other great historic schools, and those of younger public schools all over the country are continuing to build upon the foundations laid by foreigners many decades ago. I am hopeful that many compatriots will be honoured to send their proverbial two copper coins to those programs as a part of a shared national effort to give future generations opportunities to successfully compete and serve humanity during their time on Earth. 


We know the impact that education has had on our personal and shared lives. Many of us do not need to be persuaded to support well-defined efforts to advance the education agenda in our country. What we need are organized efforts by schools and their alumni, with assured honesty, transparency, and accountability by those charged with managing the donated funds.


© Muniini K. Mulera


Level 1 (XP: 0)
This is a very good article . Thanks Dr for sharing this information. God bless.

Recent Posts

Popular Posts