Ever since the founding of AOET, it has been our dream to start our own school for AIDS orphans and children of AIDS widows. In 2001, our dream became a reality, when we opened Rehaboth Integrated School. We were fortunate to receive donations for this purpose and to locate a rental building within close walking distance of our central offices.
It was decided to open with two classes, preschool and first year elementary school, and to limit enrollment to no more than 100 local children totally. The demand was very high, and we had to screen applicants carefully to ensure that only the neediest children were being served.
We are currently in our Second year running the School, and the school has been very successful. Three outstanding and dedicated teachers have been hired, and the children are enthusiastic, grateful for the opportunity to be in school, and eager to learn. There are many advantages to operating our own school: the per-child-cost is less than if we sponsor a child in another school, we ensure that the curriculum meets the children’s needs and is consistent with AOET’s mission, we select only the best teachers; and we keep the class size to no more than 50 children, as contrasted to an average of 200 students per teacher in the Uganda public schools. These children would not be in school at all if it were not for the existence of Rehaboth School.
There are so many more needy children who are not in school, and could be educated if we had additional resources. In order to increase our outreach, we are hoping to find the funds to add another class next year. In order to do so, we need $3,100 to build a temporary additional classroom (because we are renting, we do not want to spend the additional money needed to build a permanent structure on someone else’s land), plus $720 a year to hire an additional teacher.
Our long-term goals are to add a class each year, and to open additional schools in the surrounding area.
In order to achieve these objectives, permanent funding that is dedicated for these purposes is necessary.
We are very pleased with the results of running our first school, and are looking forward to having the resources to open additional classes and schools, thereby expanding educational opportunities for AIDS orphans and children of AIDS widows. As indicated in our organization’s name, this is the highest priority of AIDS Orphans Education Trust – Uganda.