Nyamirama School Development
St. Joseph Parish, Kanungu Region, Western Uganda (more photos here)
I was recommended by friends to contact Father Aloysius during my stay in Uganda. It turned out to be a very inspiring visit because the Nyamirama Parish team are strong, young, highly educated, hopeful, ready, willing and able - to help children (currently about 400 every year) and families to a better future in Nyamirama. Hear Father Aloysius, Sister Prudence, Sister Schola and Father Steven tell about their plans in these videos!
Most urgently building a new dormitory is needed so as to be able to help more young girls who otherwise might be stopped from studying because of being forced into early marriages.
It is possible to hear the rain falling - this was recorded during the rainy season in November 2022.
Father Aloysius used to be a businessman. He got the inspiration to start to help the poor, so he trained as a priest within the Catholic Church. He tells about his team and WHY they are needed: Families and society are broken, he says. Alcohol, divorces, and early pregnancies contibute to that. Children at the Parish learn how to become stable persons and how to support themselves, also by learning agricultulture, which is done to feed the children and teenagers who stay at the boarding school.
Sister Prudence is Head Teacher of the Poullart des Places Secondary School. She talks about her work and hopes for the secondary school children at the boarding school. Her passion is to work with the youth and to see them grow as persons. She mentions why working with Father Aloysius is so much fun - which makes working 7 days a week possible - not only as a teacher but also as a mother figure.
Children are living in precarity, often without fathers, and with mothers who can't provide for them. Many come crying to Prudence. School provides secutity, food and a good social environment. Many develop personal goals, often involving higher education. The numbers of boarding students is rapidly growing, so a new dormitory is badly needed.
Sister Schola talks about the needs of the primary school children. This includes a nursery level with children from the age of 3 many times with mothers in their early teens. She motivates families to let the children go to school and is responsible for the well-being of the little children, including many activities. She is in charge of about ten teachers and student hall tutors as well.
Father Steven is a younger colleague of Aloysius's. Thanks to him sharing the work load, many more people are helped by the parish. He mentions competences that he is learning from the team, with a view to help the community in Nyamirama.
Steven emphasises the element of hope for a better life, that children get from school.
Father Aloysius explains what his team dream of doing more in the future than they are able to do today for the benefit of young girls in the area. He starts by explaining how he himself and his 7 siblings were orphaned at an early age, but could reach up to the level of higher education, basically through the work and inspiration of a relative of theirs.
He was moved by the difficulties he saw when he came to Nyamirama. 75% hadn't gone to school at all and girls often became mothers as early as at 14. There is also a lot of rape and sexual asaults, so the school compound is essential for the safety of the young girls. To them home is dangerous many times, so they ask to be allowed to stay at the compound.
It is another goal to open up years 5 and 6 of secondary school education. That way that the Nyamirama students could go straight to higher education. (Without higher ed the students will hardly earn more than 70 USD per month.) However, so far there is no funding available for that.
Sister Prudence talks about what a good thing it would be if the school had more computers. Among other things, she could organise worthwhile courses during the school holidays, so that teenage girls could stay at school then, in safety. Of course they'd get an edge on the labour market as well.
Sunday mass led by Aloysius in an outpost church in the Nyamirama parish. It's a deeply happy feeling.