The FOTI Education Support and Child Sponsorship programme offers holistic education support to vulnerable children in rural communities Tooro region from pre-primary to tertiary institutions. The major aim of the programme is to keep children from underprivileged families in school and promote quality education.
More than half of Uganda’s 17 million children under the age of 18 are in vulnerable situations that require external support. Increasing child vulnerability is mainly attributed to family breakdown, extreme poverty, weakened extended family and community system support, death of parents/orphanhood, low household income due to unemployment, gender-based violence, catastrophes and chronic illness. An estimated 11 percent of all Ugandan children are orphans. As a result of these conditions, Uganda has witnessed increased cases of juvenile delinquency, poor performance in class and increased school drop outs.
The above problems are exacerbated by the poor education infrastructure and lack of teachers especially in rural areas of Uganda. Rural schools in Tooro Region and Uganda as a whole are located kilometers away from their homestay where kids have to move for long hours to get to their school. Many students in rural areas in Uganda walk more than 10 kilometres to and from school every day. Some begin walking to school as early as 5am in the morning, leading to fatigue, poor performance, absenteeism and high dropout rates. Data from the Uganda National Household Survey Report 2009/2010 indicates that 5.5 per cent of children aged 6-12 do not attend school because it is too far away, while the average high school-going student must walk an average distance of 5.1 kilometres to the nearest government school every day. According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, around half of girls in Uganda are illiterate and four-fifths have not attended high school, with more than 700,000 girls never having attended school.
The lack of teachers is yet another huge obstacle to education in the rural areas of Uganda. Actually, in rural areas, it can be extremely difficult to attract great teachers, and hiring, in general, is tougher in rural areas. The reason is, rural life is not suitable for everyone. Many services such as healthcare and teachers’ accommodation facilities can be harder to obtain as well.
FOTI’s Education Support and Child Sponsorship Program is driven on the conviction that for societies to thrive, its people must be given adequate education to enable them acquire adequate skills and knowledge to solve their own problems. We believe Education has the power to change people’s lives. In developing countries, individuals can increase their earning power by 10 percent on average for each additional year of education they obtain. Our desire is enabling all children in Tooro Region and Uganda as whole to attain an equitable quality education, enabling them to thrive in constantly changing economies.
To operationalize our Education Support and Child Sponsorship Program, FOTI’s social workers will continuously identify the most vulnerable children and enrol them in our Education Support and Child sponsorship program. FOTI social workers will also continuously work with the local leaders and Ministry of Education and Sports of Uganda to identify education infrastructure needs and capacity gaps for teachers and work together to lay strategies to address them.
In the next 5 years, FOTI will mobilize resources to sponsor 10,000 children, build capacity of 1000 teachers and build at least 2 primary schools in Tooro Region.