Connect Abaana (Uganda)

ConnectAbaana‘s purpose is to provide opportunity to rural Ugandan children through transferable skills that will enable them to become self-reliant, prosperous adults. ConnectAbaana supports carefully selected schools and walks alongside the Ugandan teachers.  The context-appropriate curricula in ConnectAbaana schools prepares village children to be better farmers, or to enter other professions Uganda desperately needs, such as teaching, medicine, or business. Although they were born into extreme deprivation, we believe in nurturing the abilities and talents of all children so that parental poverty, illiteracy, and other barriers do not determine their future. Together, teachers and school staff identify goals and ideas for improving their schools.

The U.S. steering committee stays in close communication to assist with program planning and advice as needed. Financial assistance is also given to supplement teachers’ salaries, building projects, and tuition for orphans. ConnectAbaana’s ultimate goal is to expand our network of schools to educate a generation who will be equipped to lead wherever they go and change their world for the better. ConnectAbaana supports five schools in Uganda and believes in a hand-up not a hand-out. We have four important tenets our schools follow: 1. Provide one meal a day for each student (sometimes the only one they get)   001C 001e 2. Pay the teachers on time (many public school teachers don’t get paid for several months at a time) 3. Work to keep all students in school at least until they can read, write and count even if their parents cannot afford the cost, and 4. Ensure the leaders meet for sharing and training at least three times a year and teachers at least once a year.

Our January 2015 term started with 1,588 children!  In late 2014, our P7 (7th grade) students did well in the nationwide end-of-primary-tests. 104 of 111 (93%) qualified to attend secondary school and the other 7 passed!

It has been five years since Connect Abaana (CA) was created and we are taking this anniversary to evaluate all that has been accomplished since our inception and plan for the future.  We are excited that 3 members of our team (Dr. Christopher Kigongo (founder of CA, a medical doctor from Uganda working at Duke Hospital), Winkie LaForce (President of Leadership Triangle) and Laura McPherson (Special Education Teacher)) will go to Uganda in late June and with the educators from our five schools, will reflect on the past, critique the current programs, and plan for the future.  They will visit each school, introduce some new teaching concepts, and ask the Uganda teachers how we can best serve them as we move forward.

Through our schools and local partnerships, ConnectAbaana opens doors for Uganda’s rural youth to grow into healthy, confident, educated, adults and break the cycle of poverty they were born into. A network of private elementary schools trying to fill gaps in the Ugandan education system, ConnectAbaana supports carefully selected schools and walks alongside the Ugandan teachers and professionals who are running the show. Together, teachers and school staff identify goals and ideas for improving their schools. The U.S. steering committee stays in close communication to assist with program planning and advice as needed. Financial assistance is given to supplement teachers’ salaries, building projects, and tuition for orphans; in addition, each school is working to become as financially independent as possible. Our Ugandan leadership team, composed of teachers from all the ConnectAbaana schools, came up with this vision: A society without illiteracy, united behind common causes that would empower the community with knowledge and skills which can bring about economic and social transformation for a better standard of living and sustainability.

Please visit ConnectAbaana online at www.connectabaana.org.