OUR AIM: "To advance the education and enhance the life opportunities of children living in poverty in and around Kampala, Uganda - in particular, but not exclusively, by provision of financial support."
In 2002, our team were sent a photo of the wooden classroom in Kisenyi slum - bare but for a few benches and some very smiley children. Struck by the contrast between this learning environment and our own schools here in the UK, we wrote to Headteacher Anne Nsubuga and asked if we could form a link. Anne agreed and the Hosanna Primary School Support Group was set up. At that point there was no water supply on site, the school toilets were pit latrines and there was one wooden building in use as both church and school.
In her first letter Anne explained that as most of the parents could not afford to give their children breakfast, the school provided a cup of maize porridge daily. Many families could not afford this and she wrote to explain that she 'would love this cup to be free of charge but the school can’t afford it.’ The cost of free porridge for all the pupils at that time was about £1,000 per year so we started to talk about Anne's school with work colleagues, friends and family and many said they would like to help. Shortly, a bank account was set up and by January 2003 Anne was able to announce to the parents that every child at the school would receive their daily porridge free of charge.
Over the next 15 years, we have worked alongside Headteacher Anne and her dedicated team to educate and support children and families living in the poverty of Kisenyi slum, Uganda - ranging from the provision of porridge, uniform and stationary to supporting with primary and secondary school fees, teacher training and rent for the poorest families.
Sadly, Hosanna Primary School was closed during Term 2 of June 2018 following a lengthy legal battle over ownership of the land on which the school was built, but Anne and her family have now formally registered the team as the new charity 'Smile Children's Ministries' and have chosen to focus the main body of their work on educating our sponsored students at their school in Ndejje. At present, our sponsored ex-Hosanna pupils are currently taught at Eaglets Primary School in Kisenyi under the watchful eye of Teacher Doreen or at the team's school in Ndejje where they board residentially. Development of this site is now one of their main aims and they hope to transition our remaining students over from Eaglets over the next year or so.
This November 2019, our Chair of Trustees Pridie Tiernan travelled to Uganda to meet with Anne and her team to gather information about their current and future work to take back to trustees and sponsors. Over these ten days, Pridie met with everyone, visited both Eaglets and Childcare Primary, liaised with colleagues in-country about sustainable build projects, and met with students to hear more about their education and, in the case of older children, explore the option of business enterprise loans.
Pridie's update is now available to view on our news page!