Why is a book of poetry, The Songs of Kiguli so terribly important to bright and inquiring minds living in the rural areas of Uganda?
The Kiguli Army School was originally founded to provide an inexpensive education to the children of soldiers in the Ugandan Army. At inception it was registered as a Universal Primary Education school or UPE. UPEs were set up by the government of Uganda to provide free primary-level education to children across the country. Registration does not mean that the operating costs of the school are covered. Books, stationary, school meals, and much of the salaries paid to teachers and administrators are not covered.
The cost of teacher salaries was not supported by the government until 2001 since the ministry of education had difficulty locating the registration number. From the organization of the school until 2001, the teachers were paid out of the army’s “Rational Cash Allowance (RCA). This is a fund providing small stipends for soldiers.
In 2002 things began to change for the better. Luwero Industries, Ltd. Provided a location for the school and constructed 4 classroom blocks. With this contribution came more students from the families of workers at Luwero. The school is now providing education to the Nakasongola military fraternity and the children of Luwero workers. The school is able to keep the contribution required from the families to a reasonable amount due to the proximity of the campus to corporate housing, local villages, and the homes of the fraternity.
“Reasonable cost,” of course, is a relevant term. Education is being provided with the materials at hand. But the school desperately needs a number of items not covered by the government, fraternity or corporate support. Many of the students travel some 4 km to and from school. Reliable transportation is required to and from athletic events. A maintenance vehicle is needed as well as repairs to the original buildings. A library has been started and it is in need of more inventory. The expanding school could also use more space. The teachers and the administrators would like to see the school lunch program expanded.
It is true that the sale of this little book of poetry, along with its companion DVD and the 2012 edition, will help raise funds to support the projects required by the school. PDMI Publishing, LLC, is doing its best to build the kind of marketing program that will generate the required interest in this project. But there is far, far more. One short review of the thank yous that flow from this rather large school give you some idea of the impact the simple act of publishing can have on the spirits of the students themselves. Although the poems show that they are already far along the road of understanding the circumstances of their country and the world, this book gives them the sense that they have the power to change things for the better. Something THEY do can have an impact. Won’t you join us in training and inspiring the next generation of thoughtful, compassionate leaders of this African nation?
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