Through education, the Quicken Trust is giving hundreds of children in the Ugandan village of Kabubbu the chance to escape grinding poverty. Providing a secondary education at the Trust High School means some are now achieving what was once an impossible dream – a place at university. (Higher Education) For others, it’s a route to vocational training, a job and an income. (Vocational Training) Over 80 Kabubbu students are regularly in further education.
The Trust High School currently has over 600 students across six school years (S1-S6). Up to 100 are partnered; the rest have fees paid by their families. Partnered children receive a free uniform, free primary healthcare and all meals as well as their education. Partners are asked to support their child all the way through secondary school. (Child Partnership)
Most of the children are day pupils but almost half are boarders who stay in dormitories built on the school site. The boarders come because the school quickly established high educational standards. The income generated by their fees is crucial to the aim of making Kabubbu self-sustaining in the future.
Watch: Head teacher Ben
Trust High School teachers have come to two schools in East Sussex – Mayfield C of E Primary and Heathfield Community College – under a swap scheme organised through the British Council’s Global School Partnership. Several other schools have taken groups of students to Kabubbu to help with projects. These include Bede’s; St Catherine’s College, Willingdon Community School and Ratton in Eastbourne; Hillview School for Girls; Burgess Hill School for Girls; Ark William Parker Academy, Hastings and Uplands Community College, Wadhurst. Students from Kabubbu have been awarded scholarships to Bede’s and Pestalozzi International Village, Seddlescombe. The swaps broaden skills, knowledge and cultural awareness.
“It wasn’t part of the plan!”
The Trust High School was opened in 2006 by the Minister of Education, Geraldine Bitamazire. For the first time, pupils completing their education at the primary school were able to go to secondary school in the village. (Primary)
The Quicken Trust had not planned to build a secondary school because costs are much higher. But the Trust and the Kabubbu Development Project realised that a good primary education was almost futile if children were denied the chance to go on. “It wasn’t part of the plan,” says Geoff Booker, founder of the Quicken Trust. “But what do you do – tell them to go back to growing vegetables at age 14 when they have been scoring some of the highest primary school marks in the district??” (Child Partnership)
Children in Kabubbu appreciate the value of the education now on offer. Across the country only 14% of students complete their education. In Kabubbu that figure is 89%.
When Alice, 16, was told she had partnership to go to secondary school, she said: “This is the happiest day of my life. I cannot believe that I have been chosen for a free education.” Fred, 19, who was also selected said: “This is a wonderful opportunity that will change my life”.
Many of the children who are succeeding have partners who write regularly to encourage them and share their own family news. Children take public exams at the end of Years S4 and S6. These are equivalent to GCSE and A-level in England. Many of the best students have partners who have been to visit them. (Child Partnership)
A Mission to Succeed:
The Trust High School has set clear aims and values at its core:
- To provide an all-round education with emphasis on discipline, love of God and academic excellence for creating an independent and self-sustaining child
- To become the leading secondary school for all-round education in Uganda
- To establish as core values a love of God, integrity, discipline, patriotism, team work and partnering with others
Academic success is encouraged but the school offers plenty of extra-curricular activities too. These include music, drama, debating and entrepreneurship clubs and, of course, sports.
The school is fast building a good reputation. The girls Volleyball team were national champions in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017, and have represented Uganda in the East Africa finals.
The Trust High School Choir regularly wins through to the finals of Uganda’s national school choir competition. Five singers were part of the Orphan school choir which visited the UK in 2009. (Child Partnership)