In 2008 We were part of a group of Spanish and British tourists who were on their way through Uganda to see the mountain gorillas in the Virunga mountains. We had just been to visit Murchison Falls Nature Reserve and were slipping and sliding along a mud road when our converted lorry got stuck in the mud. We piled out of the lorry and found we were in front of a primary school. But what a school! It was made of mud with only a few desks, cracked blackboards and ragged curtains separating classrooms.
On enquiry, we found out that the school had been founded by the local community for AIDS orphans and the children of refugee and other very poor families who could not afford the minimal fees of the government schools in the area.
One of the group, who teaches English to primary school children in Spain, started teaching the children songs. They were thrilled, and learned very quickly, and we immediately felt that these children deserved support. We asked the headteacher if there was anything that could be sent with the tourist lorry that came by every six months, thinking that perhaps we could send books, pencils or other equipment. But the head teacher replied “What we need is a proper school”. Of course!
Throughout the trip we could not get the school out of our heads, and when we returned home we decided to set up an NGO, Adelante Africa, which means Go forward Africa in Spanish, and began to raise money to rebuild the school. Two years later, in 2010 St Joseph’s School was completely rebuilt and it was handed over to the community and local government. However, on visiting the school the members of Adelante Africa realised that in fact the work, far from being finished, had only just begun … and from then onwards Adelante Africa Tugende Omumaiso (let’s go forward together) has been working on a whole new set of projects.
Where we work.
A map of Africa showing the position of Uganda and the Ugandan flag.
The black stands for the people of Africa, the yellow for the sun and the red for the blood of all the different peoples and mini-nations that make up the country. The crane in the centre of the flag is a gentle bird, common in Uganda and the national symbol.
The community is called Igayaza. It is in Kibaale District, about 100 kilometres from Lake Albert and half way between Hoima and Mubende. Igayaza is made up of more than 18 villages that are critically underdeveloped. 90% of the population live in mud huts and are unable to read or write.
This is a map of Uganda showing the position of Kibaale District. Igayaza is roughly in the centre.
The school anthem and the anthem of the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
St Joseph´s Children singing the national anthem of Uganda.
Objectives of the Association
- To join and support education, agricultural and other development projects that come from the local community.
- To raise funds to support development projects.
- To hand over responsibility for infrastructures and work towards projects being efficient and self-sufficient as soon as possible.
Small steps can lead to great changes
Adelante África works alongside local people in a remote rural area in Uganda to support vulnerable children. We have educational projects, a home for abandoned children and give small loans to help families pull themselves out of poverty.
The economic resources of Adelante África come from one off donations, from the sale of products made by women’s groups in Uganda, from funds raised at events and from the monthly donations of members.