Under Arcos Education program we are running two schools. Education is key in helping low-income children move beyond poor and Arcos Uganda is very aware of this and that is why we focus on empowering these little images of God through Education from preprimary, secondary to vocational training.
We are liberating these poor, underprivileged children through Education. Children in rural Uganda, especially Kasaali – Sub-county face many barriers in gaining a roper education. The ultimate goal of the Arcos-Education program is to help poor students in this area overcome these obstacles and harvest their educational dreams.
GAYAZA PREPARATORY SCHOOL
Started in 1998 at the Rev. Cornelius Kateregga’s home to cater for the little ones who would not be able to attend public schools which were 5-10kms away from the village and to cater for the vulnerable ones who had some sicknesses and those children who were already living with HIV/AIDS but have been neglected by their parents. Every day at least 5 children become orphans within Kasaali sub-county where we operate and many of these children range from ages 1-8 years. These children are hungry, lonely and afraid. They have holes in their clothes and tattered shoes (if they have clothes and shoes). They feel cold, sad and forsaken. The vision for Gayaza preparatory school is to transform into a home (orphanage) for these little children who sometimes are left to head families after their parents have died. Our goal is to take these children in, care for them, clothe them educate them and love them. Our goal is to provide these children with a clean, safe and nurturing environment. But we do not want to just stop there.
The vision of Arcos Uganda is to one day have a self-sustaining community consisting of a children’s home (orphanage) with a comprehensive school, training center for women, place of worship, hospital, library, park, play fields , technology center, shops, and other facilities that help a community to succeed.
The first step has already been taken. We are in the possession of more than 10 arcos of land where we have already established several other other projects like secondary school with some vocational facilities.
GAYAZA SECONDARY & VOCATIONAL SCHOOL
Started in 1998 to cater for the hundreds of poor students who had dropped out of school due to the long – distance of nearby secondary schools and also to create an integrated education structure where students can learn skills to make them self – reliant. Our vision is for this school is to help each orphan, abused youth and those who are non-orphans to become a valued member of the community: a person who has the tools to support himself and his family for a life time. Since 2000, we have reached our initial objectives of providing a meal each day to drop – in children, establishing a community garden as a source of food, providing education for orphans and starting sustainable small-scale businesses. The long-term mission is to establish a center which is to provide prevention and intervention services, counselling, life skills and behavioral health services to abused, neglected and homeless youth and their families. Our programs foster positive growth enabling at risk youth and their families to become healthy. Productive, responsible members of the community.
There is already drawn plan to expand the vocation training section first by sourcing for tools needed and first emphasis has been put at established of an ICT complex next to the secondary school ( currently we offer training in tailoring , Business Administration, welding, computer training and maintenance, home economics and hair – dressing). Each year, thousands of Ugandan poor youth and children drop out of schools and fail to get the basic gainful employment, while most of these are orphans, victims of circumstances, we started an initiative at Gayaza Secondary School in form of Vocational training program which gives them skills and trainings ‘which otherwise they couldn’t have afforded; this opportunity is also available to those youth in school or out of school mainly from the rural communities
COMPUTER TRAINING CENTRE
Digital divide is one of the many divides, separating rural and urban Uganda deeply. The divide that is deterring transparency, good governance and socio-economic empowerment of rural areas, could be bridged with use of IT. Government of Uganda has initiated a step by developing IT action plan but it has been ineffective due to lack of training manpower to operate services.
Availability of IT human resource within rural community which could have enabled various IT initiatives unfortunately did not happen for supply deficit of IT trained persons. Contrastingly, high rate of unemployment among rural youths could have been utilized towards this as providing employment in their own milieu has district advantages of preservation of social capital of community. In the backdrop of various disparities, Gayaza Secondary and Vocational School with the mission of leveraging the power of information & communication technology (ICT) has launched GICTTC. Though we started school computer training in 2008, this program is relatively new.
Plan of Action (Gayaza Information and Commercial Technology Training Centre G, CTTC)
GICTTC, a residential training program, aims to make youths employable by giving them the required exposure to ICT and basic management of specific applications useful to organizations and institutions working and located in rural areas and semi-urban or urban areas. The attempt is to much development with catchment and to ensure that the requirement of ICT technical personnel is met with from within the rural poor youth, who are in no way less capable than their urban counterparts. This creates another non-farm livelihood option for rural community and also partly stems the flow of money and manpower from rural to urban areas
GICTTC training modules, computer literacy, package deployment, troubleshooting software skills and field visits in terms of internships training are not only technically comprehensive but also socio-culturally transformative. Our teaching methodology emphasizes learning by doing and theory is used only as a backup to practical training. Trainees build knowledge and skill base by working on projects as well as hone their communication skills by giving power point presentations and participating in class room discussions.
Financially, GICTTC here as sustained itself with the fees paid by the trainees who can afford and free service provided by volunteers. In future, we plan to make GICTTC fully self-sustaining with a model combining the fees from the trainees with earning from any employers who want training for their workforce and funding agencies that support market linked employment. We plan to design and tailor courses according to market demand.
Child sponsorship program – the number of orphaned and vulnerable children in our sponsorship program has drastically increased. These are mainly children of parents who were HIV positive and have since passed away or are too weak and poor to educational sponsorship for them. We have over 230 children in this program.