Welcome to Uganda Kitgum Education Foundation (UKEF).
Globally, over 101 million children are out of school - many of these are girls. The highest of numbers of out-of-school children are highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
In Uganda, net primary school enrollment is 94 percent but only 57 percent of those enrolled complete primary school. Quality education is far from being a reality for many million children in rural Uganda. In most government owned primary schools in the country, an average class size in most is about 100 pupils.
Big gender disparities exist in primary school enrollment and completion in rural Northern Uganda. Conflict and widespread poverty situation led to income poverty, child labour and HIV/AIDS in the region. For many poor families, education of the male children take priority over their female counterpart. To generate extra income for the family, young girls work as housemates or baby sitters instead of attending school. At times, the income pays school fees for their male siblings.
Education equips one with knowledge, skills and values that provide a basis for lifelong learning and professional career. Education is a tool one can use to break generational poverty, reduce diseases and increase productivity. An educated person is more likely to find meaningful employment, bring up a healthy family, have fewer children and a brighter future.
"I don't mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education…'' - Malala Yousafzai. Just like Malala, the Pakistani young outspoken advocate for girls education at the risk her own life; many children around the world have the determination to fight for their right to education. While I was young, my older siblings walked from home in Ogako to Padibe Senior Secondary School in Lai, a distance of over 7kms each way. It took them about 1 hour and 30 minutes to go to school. They only woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder to be able to access high school education. Although the civil war interrupted their formal education, their determination and commitment was visible.
This story and so many other improbable stories must compel us to do something to make parents and children in such communities realize their dreams. We are confident that together, we have the power to make a difference in the lives of these children and their communities. Would you join us in this cause?
Millennium Development Goal 2: ''Ensure that, by 2020, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling''
Despite tremendous efforts by different stakeholders to achieve the millennium development goals, the hope for universal primary education by 2020 especially in many developing countries including post conflict countries and communities remains a dream.This is the motive behind the creation of Uganda Kitgum Education Foundation (UKEF).
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela.
Regardless of age, race, health, or social class, we all need education to unlock our potential and move forward as individuals and a society. The Uganda Kitgum Education Foundation (UKEF) is dedicated to improving lives and communities in Northern Uganda by opening schools for children left out of formal education after more than two decades of civil war. Despite the recognition of a rough road ahead, the people of Northern Uganda share the hope that rebuilding their lives is possible, and the belief that investing in education is fundamental to the process. The future of our children depends on access to good schools and qualified teachers.
The civil war between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the government of Uganda affected Northern Uganda the most. It lasted between 1986 to 2006. Among other devastating effects, the war displaced more than 1.8 million people to Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) camps with an estimated 30,000 children abducted and use as child soldiers. Tens of thousand of Northern Ugandan civilian population suffered mutilation, loss of lives and properties. (Source)
With the silent of the guns since 2006, the region has witnessed relative peace and IDPs have gradually resettled back to their ancestral homes and communities. Unfortunately, limited access to social services such as education, health care, clean water and sanitation facilities are amongst the challenges an average person in Northern Uganda battles with on a daily basis.
Beside, there are increasing number of orphans as a result of the civil war, HIV/AIDS infection and deaths. The LRA adducted many young girls and used them as sex slaves. Some of these girls became mothers against their own will. Those who escaped captivity also battle the challenges of raising their children and providing for their families.
Overall, there is a high unemployment rate in Uganda. Inadequate access to education over the past decades led to massive youth unemployment in the country. More than 3 in every 4 Ugandan is below the age of 30 years. United Nations Report, 2011 estimates about 83 percent of Ugandan youth unemployed.