Come see the Nursery/Primary/Teacher’s College at St. Josephine’s Bakhita School! Meet the orphans and “Auntie Regina”!
The St. Josephine Bakhita Nursery, Primary and Teacher’s College had a very humble beginning in the year 2000. It was started by our own author’s (Charles Oscar Akena) “Auntie Regina”. The idea for the school sprung up one day while she was sitting under the shade of a fruity Mango tree with four orphan children. Today it is a community -based women’s initiative. Prior to her school endeavor, Regina Oburu was the Secretary of Alokolum National Major Seminary, also located in Gulu. She mobilized retired female teachers who shared her concern for the desperate conditions of the schools and opportunities for education in Acholiland at the time. They had been the victims of war and violence continuously since 1986. The children were very vulnerable and all infrastructures were breaking down, including school and child care. Entire families were running away from abductions by the LRA/UPDF war. There were daily clashes during that time.
As a proposed “solution”, the northern part of Uganda, home to predominantly the Acholi, the people were displaced from their villages and put into displacement camps in the south. The children were being abducted into the rebel army and it was just too dangerous for them to stay in the area. During the entire war, there was no opportunity anywhere for these children to obtain an education. The schools in the south could not handle the influx of refugees. Conditions in the camp were very poor and not in any way supportive of a school building or any type of education training. The children suffered. They still do. That is what has mobilized us at Hope for Post-War Children in Northern Uganda.
Out of this situation, the idea for a safe haven and day care was born with Christian values at its center. The school was called St. Josephine Bakhita Nursery School. It is located in the Northern town of Gulu, home of the Acholi.
In 2011/2012, the student population had grown to approximately 500. The ratio of girls to boys was 2:1. The children started in the nursery section, then graduated to Daycare. From Daycare they went into the Baby, Middle, and Top class. These steps made up a total of three years of Nursery Education.
In January of 2011, Primary One was introduced.
Today school is offering education to the Primary 6 level. The total population has declined because of school financial hardships. The enrollment at this time is 259 students.
The hardship stems from the impoverished parents and guardians who, while recovering from war, do not have the money to pay school fees. Northern Uganda is engulfed in poverty. They are struggling for daily family survival, feeding, and disease, finding food and fighting disease.
At the present time, the majority of students are orphans for whom the school contributes heavily for sponsorship. The school also feeds them and keeps them at school. It is struggling for funds.
– Orphans are integrated into the founder’s extended family.
-Strong and consistent discipline.
-Music, Dance, and Drama, which promotes cultural values and life skills.
– Scout cubs (activities).
– Child Counseling and Healthy Family Living educational classes are taught.
– 5,000 Lt Water tank required. Currently, students walk a great distance to fetch water.
– Need to be able to provide a competitive Teacher salary in order to maintain qualified teachers for long periods. The current salary is only $20.00 (USD) per month. It is not sufficient for teachers with extended families. There are so many orphans and so many needs for children,
– Scholastic materials, textbooks, charts, chalks, balls for games, desks and chairs are all needed to sustain the classroom activities.
Regina Oburu-Too, the Founder, is a widow, childless, disabled from a leg injury, and is 76 years old. She has amazing love and dedication for her students and extended family. She is a remarkable woman, indeed.
Charles Oscar Akena explains more details about his family involvement with the school.
“Bakhita”, we fondly call the school, plans to shift the Primary section to its site on our ancestral land. There is plenty of rich farmland but we lack construction funds. Our grandfather provided the land exclusively for that school! His desire was to rebuild his home and culture.”
St. Josephine Bakhita is the product of the vision and passionate commitment this family has for providing education and care for the orphans and children (or parents) who have been so negatively affected by the strife and atrocities of a bloody twenty-year war. Recovery without financial aid is a nearly impossible task.
Regina(rear) & Charles Oscar Akena (front) and students / Regina & students
Learning dance Regina & students
Students in Need of Funding
“Whosoever receives one such child in my Name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” Mark 9:37
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27
All of these precious faces belong to the children on the list who need help with funding to further their education. God bless you for reading this. Please keep them in your prayers and your financial help will be cherished. We will keep you updated with their progress. 100% of all donations go directly to these kids and to the school if so instructed.