“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn
When Ndagire Mercy Ritrisha Morella, an old girl of Gayaza High School (2013), joined one of the 17 Colleges of United World Colleges(UWC) and got to know about an initiative of “Go Make difference”(GOMAD)https://www.gomakeadifference.global/projects-awarded/2019-awards/, Kadongo Maths Project was what came first in her mind. She proposed funding of a project to give back to Kadongo Primary School where she once taught Mathematics to the P.7 pupils in the Community Outreach Maths Project. Her dream was to improve on the learning environment of the pupils in the school after her prior experience in the project. Mercy believes in ‘a quality education for all’ and that every child, irrespective of the financial ability of the parents or guardians to support him or her through school, deserves that quality education.
To have a quality education, the mode of teaching matters a lot but what also matters is the environment that the students are placed in as well as the resources such as textbooks, scholastic materials among other things available to the students regarding education. And with this in mind, ‘I decided to propose a project called ‘A BETTER KADONGO’ aimed at improving the environment in which the students learn,’ says Mercy.
Photo: The Kadongo Classrooms under renovation
Being an old girl of Gayaza High School, I remembered when we were taken to this primary school which we commonly referred to as ‘Kadongo’ under Mr. Ddungu to teach Mathematics to the then Primary Seven candidates back in 2013. One thing that struck me was the state of the classrooms in which the students were studying. They were in such a sorry state and when I came across the GoMAD initiative, I remembered Kadongo and saw that if awarded the funds, I would be able to at least refurbish the classrooms in which the candidates studied. In my mind, I was thinking about how the candidates or any student would love studying in a well-built classroom and this motivated me to write a project proposal, says Mercy.
It was not long before that Mercy was awarded the funds to live her dream of a better Kadongo where pupils study in a conducive environment. In an effort to implement the project to the dot, Mercy physically got involved and for the time she has been around to supervise the construction she can’t hide her excitement and joy, and looks forward to the day the students will move back in the classrooms.
Photos above: Classroom taking shape for a conducive environment
Many thanks to my former school -UWCAdriatic for the guidance and support as well as Colin, Jill and Ann (from whom I got the funds) and UWCUganda for such a great opportunity. And for sure, I would not be able to come this far without the help of Mrs. Joan Kagulire (Former Headteacher of Kadongo Primary School), Mrs. Proscovia Kisejja (Matron GHS), Mr. Julius (the painter), Mr. Musoke Paul and the entire construction team and my friends and family that have offered their time, endless support, encouragement and advice and because of that, I am forever grateful, says Mercy.
Kadongo Maths Project was started by Mr. Ronald Ddungu, the former Deputy Headteacher of Gayaza High School and has been running since 2008. It has stood the test of time and the support from different teachers, parents and organisations has made it possible to keep this project running. This year UEGCL (Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited) supported G.H.S in the printing of text books that the girls will use while teaching pupils in the community School. As a school we continue to seek for support to buy scholastic materials for the pupils to make their learning easy and effective.
This is the first time I am doing something of this sort and there is really a lot I have learnt from it. One of the lessons being that one can never be too young or old to still make an impact in this world, and with that at the back of my mind, I set out to accomplish all that I think will make this world a better place for the people around us. With this, I hope that this can be an inspiration to anyone who would like to do any projects that could improve standards of living in our country and I will always be around to offer all the support I can.
Photo: Mercy and G.H.S Headmistress, Mrs Victoria. S. Kisarale on her recent visit to the school