Healing Focus, an amazing story
The immediate beneficiaries are and will be the 250 orphaned pupils at the school. The community of Busiiro Village has benefitted, and will continue to benefit, from the school’s provision for the children, many of whom were homeless. The village clinic has already benefitted from our provision of medicines, both for the school and the community.
The pupils are aged between three and fifteen and follow the government curriculum. Busiiro village is in Luuka District, Luuka County, Uganda, East Africa. The catchment area is defined in this case by walking distance and the local government area.
Healing Focus School is a licensed free school, currently teaching 250 orphaned children between the ages of three and fifteen. It follows the government curriculum
and is subject to Department of Education supervision. The children are from the environs of Busiiro Village, in an impoverished area of subsistence farmers and sugar cane workers. Many of the orphans were homeless and are now boarded with Guardians in the community. There is a waiting list of a further 100 orphans. The school is non-denominational and non-discriminatory, except that
intake is restricted to orphans. This is a requisite of our support. We have instituted a monthly budget and are encouraging bookkeeping and accountancy skills, through the support of a Trustee.
Since 2013, the school has been installed on a new site, bought by Healing Focus Orphanage Centre and in title to the school. We, UKHF, have re-situated classrooms, built separate latrines for staff and pupils, installed concrete floors to eliminate “jiggers’ and ensured that each child has a desk and is well fed. We also support the medical costs of maintaining the school.
Since 2011 a “Safe House” has operated to protect vulnerable girls. Approximately 30 girls live in this rented brick building which is now adjacent to the school and staff lodgings.
We, UKHF, have physically painted some of the older classrooms. We regularly interview the teaching staff and meet with the Guardians to listen to their needs, when we receive considerable praise but also learn of issues to be addressed. UKHF has donated and delivered school equipment and first aid kits, as well as giving medicine to the village clinic. It is a condition of the licence that the school gives vocational training and this has become a priority. We intend to add sewing, metalwork and woodwork classes. The guardians had asked for a sponsorship programme for those unable to afford secondary education.
Since 2012 we have been able to find sponsors to enable 5 children each year to continue to Secondary education. We researched various schools as far away as Kampala and are happy to report that the best school and perfectly suited to our students is in Busiiro. This school has been turned around by a new and enterprising headmaster. We now have 15 sponsored children in Busiiro Secondary.
UKFriends of Healing Focus’s objective is to help make the school a residential, self-sustaining enterprise, owning its land and buildings, integrated within the community and in partnership with Healing Focus Orphanage Centre. A large part of this was achieved in 2012 when Tom Bagoole, the director of Healing Focus, was able to buy a new site for the school, which UKHF complemented by providing funding for the move and re-building, coupled with a trustee’s donation of adjoining agricultural land. The school is thus virtually self sustaining for food. This long term aim or object will depend for its success on further close cooperation with our partners at Healing Focus Orphanage Centre. The most important benefit of a residential school will be to the orphans. A residential school with full time matron would immediately alleviate the problem of labour on the sugar plantations, which encourages the children to abscond from school and is illegal in Uganda.
Trauma amongst orphaned children would be recognised and addressed through continuity of care, as would the hidden problem of abuse of vulnerable orphans by a few Guardians. Those Guardians at present struggling to feed another mouth would be relieved.
We are examining the possibility of opening the larger school to fee-paying non-orphans, thus subsidising the free school. A residential block for staff would ease recruitment in this rural area.
UKFriends of Healing Focus is not and will not be “working with children” or “working with those under the age of 16”. We are working with our partner Healing Focus Orphanage Centre to support the education, welfare and development of the orphaned children of Busiiro Village.
Healing Focus Orphanage Centre has a certificate of registration from Central Government, Uganda and is regularly inspected by the Inspector of Schools.