Rural Education and Environmental Development Organization / Nkuringo Integrated Model School
Nkuringo Integrated Model School is located on the outskirts of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The school was established in 2013 by Dennis Bilungi with the aim of giving children a formal and vocational training. This resulted from the recognition that the prevailing schools were not meeting the needs of disadvantaged children, especially the Batwa and orphans. The school now serves 185 elementary and middle school pupils of whom 47 are Batwa.
The Batwa were evicted from Bwindi forest in 1991 when it became a National Park (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park). They lost their rights to resources, such as, honey, medicine, wild meat, wild yams, fruits, shelter, etc. These were their source of survival. They are now some of the poorest people in Kisoro district with the highest infant mortality rate and a low life expectancy. Malnutrition in form of lack of a balanced diet is common amongst the Batwa. When their children enroll in schools they find it hard to concentrate because of hunger and under nourishment and this eventually affects their academic performance. The Nkuringo Integrated Model School has a priority on complementing their diet with mushrooms and vegetables. The school has a beautiful garden that supports the school feeding program, teaching the students how to garden, and is an active income production enterprise. The school also have a new water system that was provided by Empowers Africa in 2014.
Grant #1 – May 2014
Empowers Africa made a grant for the water needs of the Nkuringo Integrated Community Model School. The grant for the water catchment and guttering system including the funding of the following components: five plastic water crest tanks, gutters, labor costs for installation, faceboard timbers, nails, cements and sand for tank stands, and taps.
Empowers Africa also made a grant for the sponsorship of a 13-year-old Ugandan boy for school necessities such as uniform, books, and tuition at the Nkuringo Integrated Community Model School.
Grant #2 – August 2014
Empowers Africa made a grant to the Nkuringo Integrated Model School to further its mushroom growing business in order to provide essential nutrition to the students and supplement the school’s operating budget. Funds will be used to purchase mushroom spawn, drums, polythene bags, substrate, firewood, horse pipes, and to build a larger mushroom house and incubation room. Funds from the grant are also being put towards the construction of a new kitchen because the previously used kitchen was primarily for preparation of the pupils’ food, where contamination would be a huge risk for both students and the growth of the mushrooms. The new additions to the project will increase its sustainability and output, allowing the community to partake in its goal of selling mushrooms.
Grant #3 – September 2015
Empowers Africa made a grant to install a new solar powered system at the school. The solar power system is now providing light in classes, dormitories and offices. The system also included the purchase and installation of a special refrigerator specifically designed to run on solar power. The school now has refrigeration for the school’s feeding program and for preserving fresh mushrooms for the school’s income generating business. In addition, there is now power for computers and accessories (e.g. scanner, internet, printer and photocopier). The teachers can now type examinations, end of term circulars, memos, appointment letters, work plans, budgets and reports at the school. Prior to this system, the school had to purchase these these services from external providers located in Kisoro town (approximately 39 km from school) – transport is difficult, time consuming and expensive in this part of the world.
Grant #4 – May 2016
Empowers Africa made a grant to supply much needed equipment: 2 laptops and a wi-fi access. The grant will also continue to support tuition for one student at the school.
Grant #5 – June 2017
Empowers Africa made a grant to the Nkuringo Integrated Model School. Currently there are approximately 160 children enrolled and receiving formal and vocational training. The school has a beautiful garden that supports the school feeding program, teaching the students how to garden, and is an active income production enterprise. The school aims to give the children both a formal education and vocational training.