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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

How are they doing?

Every year one of the really big news stories in the Uganda Press is all about the Primary and Examinations which mark the end of Primary School.

Estimates vary but up to 500,000 children take the examination and it is a real worry to parents and to teachers. Very strict control of the School examiners is done and they are locked away for weeks to mark the papers with little or no access to outside pressures.

So when February arrives you can imagine the feeling of expectancy.

11,500 schools and examination centres take part and of these about 83% are Public UPE Schools and about 17% are private schools run by charities or NGO's (like St Zoes and Good Shepherd) or they are run as businesses.

St Zoes has been entering each year since 2003 and this is the best year ever. 25 children got Division ! and 25 Division 2. No Division 3 and no failures.

This put St Zoes in the top 4.6% of ALL THE SCHOOLS IN UGANDA. A really good achievement. Local Schools in Mubende Town did really well also and have set a bit of a challenge to St Zoes for the future.

St Zoes charges rather less than the other schools and of course does have a number of free places which we fund.

But the other big news was at Good Shepherd. Children with learning disability simply do not enter these exams. But this year three children all got Division 2 results which is pretty amazing and a real testament to Sr. Teresa and to her staff.

Well done everyone.And for all our supporters we hope you find it rewarding to know that your generosity is getting great results.

Nest time we will try to update you on what opportunities have been taken up by children who completed their education and went on to Further Education, University, or careers

Friday, 18 January 2013

Germany and Sternsinger

Trustee Denise and I went to Turkenfeld near Munich for the Feast of the Epiphany when throughout Germany the Annual Sternsinger takes place.
Despite awful weather children dress up as the Magi or Three Kings (Caspar Melchior and Balthazzar) and go from house to house in all the towns and cities to bring a message of good will to everyone. Each King recites a part of the blessing when the householder opens the door and then a record of the visit is posted over the door itself. We accompanied one of the groups until we became too cold and too wet to continue. The children started at 9.30 in the morning and finished at 4.00. They finished the town the next day which was Sunday.

It was very clear that the people were really looking forward to the day and had already prepared some presents for the children and a donation to the charity which was the schools in Uganda. Over the two days about 9000 € was raised which is amazing.

The major newspapers featured the event with a picture of children in Berlin giving good wishes to Chancellor Merkel.

Bavaria of course is famous for Oompapa Brass Bands and Lederhosen and our wonderful host Gerhard is the Principal of Turkenfeld Band. Despite the small population of 3000 people the band has over 300 members and we were treated to a wonderful concert to celebrate an 85th birthday.

The visit gave us a great opportunity to spend time with Dr John Kyazze who was the founder of the schools and our inspiration and at the same time to engage with our very generous hosts in Turkenfeld.