Learning is fun for children here

The speed at which the new HOREMI Junior School grew out of the African soil from the ground-breaking cere­mony to the opening at the end of January 2024 was breath­taking. Thanks to constant photo reports from Uganda via What­sApp, we were able to follow exactly how liter­ally every dona­tion euro turned into bricks and cement. And what did we learn about the school during our visit in March? Here is our latest school report:

In March 2024, when we were there in person, parts of the paint­work and most of the windows and doors were still missing, but the school was already in full swing. As soon as word of the new school had spread in the neigh­bor­hood, the appli­ca­tions for school places flut­tered onto Naume’s and Kenneth’s desk.

And this is how the school is running in its first year: seven teachers provide lessons for six class levels, three pre-school and three primary school levels. A total of 42 boys and 40 girls aged 4 and over are currently attending classes, most of whom — 47 chil­dren — are in pre-school. Ten chil­dren from the orphanage benefit from the short distance to school. From the fourth year of primary school onwards, the older chil­dren still have to attend other schools and some­times have to travel long distances — and pay school fees.

A day at the HOREMI Junior School

What makes HOREMI Junior School special?

The school manager Kenneth knows the value of good educa­tion from his own expe­ri­ence. For him, it was there­fore clear from the outset that the HOREMI school had to be much better than the state schools with their over­crowded classes and often poorly qual­i­fied and paid teachers. And the insti­tu­tion should also be socially oriented — so that even the poorest fami­lies can afford to send their chil­dren to school, even without paying any fees if neces­sary.

This is how Kenneth and Naume ensure the high quality stan­dard:

__The teachers recruited have submitted a multi-page appli­ca­tion form and passed a rigorous selec­tion process. Further training is compul­sory. The salary is above average.

__The state curricula are supple­mented by high-quality teaching mate­rials from private educa­tional initia­tives. The school has paid several hundred dollars for these mate­rials alone and has to invest in up-to-date curricula every school year.

__Officially, a class in Uganda has a maximum of 40 pupils, but there are usually twice as many in state schools. HOREMI wants to limit the class size to 30 chil­dren.

__Parents are involved, invited before each school year and informed in detail.

Fun while learning is some­times more impor­tant than disci­pline.

Is the school’s funding secured?

No, not yet. Combining a high stan­dard of quality with social stan­dards is a chal­lenge. Only a few chil­dren were able to pay the already low school fees in the first term (a school year in Uganda consists of three terms). As private schools do not receive any state subsi­dies, teachers’ salaries, exam­i­na­tion fees, school mate­rials, lunch and the upkeep of the class­rooms have to be financed through school fees. This is not possible, at least in the start-up phase, so the HOREMI Junior School is depen­dent on dona­tions.

The preschool currently has 47 chil­dren in 3 grades.

A school day at HOREMI:

During our visit in spring, we not only saw but also heard that school is fun: sitting still, paying atten­tion and taking notes are not the order of the day. No, often letters, numbers and words are prac­ticed together at high volume and accom­pa­nied by jumping, jiving and clap­ping. It is well known that move­ment stim­u­lates the brain. And this knowl­edge is put into prac­tice in Ugandan lessons with great enthu­siasm and success. And this is what a school day looks like for an orphan from HOREMI:

7.00 a.m.: wake-up, washing, break­fast (tea, milk, chapati flat­bread, small banana, toast). Some of this goes to school as a snack.

7.30 a.m: School and pre-school start.

10.30 a.m.: Short break. There is porridge for the pre-school chil­dren, the older chil­dren eat some­thing they have brought with them (e.g. left­overs from break­fast).

1.00 p.m.: Pre-school is over, the elemen­tary school has a 1‑hour lunch break. (You can read more about what to eat now under “This is how the kids live…”)

Until 2 p.m.: Play­time on the lawn, swings, ball games and — since we were there — wild Frisbee throwing and rope jumping.

Fun and games during the break

4.30 p.m: Ding­Dan­g­Dong — end of school!

Until approx. 5.00 p.m: The kids clean the class­rooms, veranda and paths, clear away garbage, wash dishes, fetch water.

From 5.00 p.m.: 10 minutes of prayer, then home­work.

Around 6.30 p.m: Supper — the left­overs from lunch.

From 8 p.m., depending on age: bedtime.

Learning also continues at the weekend. The chil­dren work through the week’s lessons and do their home­work. And the HOREMI teachers give extra tuition to those who attend state schools but make too little progress.

Educa­tion is the only chance for chil­dren in Uganda. We do our best to support HOREMI in the further devel­op­ment of the school. Are you involved? Welcome to the Friends of HOREMI!

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