Globally, over 101 million children are out of school - many of these are girls. The highest of numbers of out-of-school children are highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
In Uganda, net primary school enrollment is 94 percent but only 57 percent of those enrolled complete primary school. Quality education is far from being a reality for many million children in rural Uganda. In most government owned primary schools in the country, an average class size in most is about 100 pupils.
Big gender disparities exist in primary school enrollment and completion in rural Northern Uganda. Conflict and widespread poverty situation led to income poverty, child labour and HIV/AIDS in the region. For many poor families, education of the male children take priority over their female counterpart. To generate extra income for the family, young girls work as housemates or baby sitters instead of attending school. At times, the income pays school fees for their male siblings.
Education equips one with knowledge, skills and values that provide a basis for lifelong learning and professional career. Education is a tool one can use to break generational poverty, reduce diseases and increase productivity. An educated person is more likely to find meaningful employment, bring up a healthy family, have fewer children and a brighter future.
"I don't mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education…'' - Malala Yousafzai. Just like Malala, the Pakistani young outspoken advocate for girls education at the risk her own life; many children around the world have the determination to fight for their right to education. While I was young, my older siblings walked from home in Ogako to Padibe Senior Secondary School in Lai, a distance of over 7kms each way. It took them about 1 hour and 30 minutes to go to school. They only woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder to be able to access high school education. Although the civil war interrupted their formal education, their determination and commitment was visible.
This story and so many other improbable stories must compel us to do something to make parents and children in such communities realize their dreams. We are confident that together, we have the power to make a difference in the lives of these children and their communities. Would you join us in this cause?
Millennium Development Goal 2: ''Ensure that, by 2020, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling''
Despite tremendous efforts by different stakeholders to achieve the millennium development goals, the hope for universal primary education by 2020 especially in many developing countries including post conflict countries and communities remains a dream.This is the motive behind the creation of Uganda Kitgum Education Foundation (UKEF).